I spent two years exploring for gold and diamonds in Western Australia in 1993 & 1994. I was paid well to do it and had two of the best years of my life. This was a lot of fun.
Some would say I was lucky, but this wasn’t luck; this was a clear choice that I had made back in 1992 when I was in the UK. It was a conscious decision to dump the prospect of an office-bound existence for the foreseeable future and go to see what lay out in the middle of nowhere in a different country. And anyway, are we not duty-bound to spend some time simply enjoying our existence rather than succumbing to the relentless demands of modern life? Think for a minute about what we often take for granted. What we never really appreciate because of all the static that fills our lives.
Consider how many planets there are. Trillions I expect, or an even bigger number – astronomers probably have this number at their fingertips give or take a few billion here and there. Consider the chances of finding life on them – very slim indeed, millions or even billions to one. Consider then how lucky we are that our atoms have managed to organise themselves into coherent beings, irrespective of how you believe that has happened.
So there should be no feelings of guilt when having a lazy day in the back garden enjoying the feeling of the sun on your skin, or listening to the wind rustle in the leaves, or simply being able to daydream. Keep away that nagging feeling that you should be doing something else that has been deemed productive! What is productivity anyway? This takes a bit of training, but I can attest that it is very possible. This is certainly not wasting time, despite what some may say.
Spend some time marvelling in the fact that a very thin layer of ozone is stopping you being fried on the spot that you sit. Be amazed at how thin the atmosphere really is, and that without its accompanying magnetic field you would be exposed to the solar wind – and die very quickly. Spend some time thinking about the structure of the planet that provides this magnetic field and the relatively thin layer of cool ‘crust’ that protects us from the internal heat of the planet. We live a relatively fragile existence and are here against all probability – probably.
Forget concepts like being ‘productive’, being ‘time-poor’, or even the whole concept of wasting time, after all time is yours to do with as you wish. Physicists suggest that time might not be absolute after all – who knows what lies ahead; it might already have happened. Don’t forget how lucky we are to exist and be able to use our senses to enjoy the world. Don’t get too caught up in the office politics, the guilt that you don’t exercise enough, or even, dare I say it, the environmental challenges we are facing. Life is about more than this, much more. We could be hit by an unknown meteor next year or next month, so spend some time thinking about what you can take with you when you go.
Unfortunately, you can’t take anything with you, and that is the point. The only thing that can be of any use when you’re lying on your deathbed (other than being able to reverse time – I’m sure aforementioned physicists are working on this) is your experience of life. And we only get one go at it. One go, that is all. So don’t spend too much time dreaming about what you could do if you could only free yourselves of your self-imposed chains, use some of your precious time to do that which you can or that you have always wanted to do. However, ask your partner first, they might get a bit of a shock if you suddenly call them from half way up Mount Everest.
I firmly believe that a wasted life is one that you haven’t enjoyed, so make sure enjoy it as much as is possible. Put modern society into its proper perspective; there will always be people telling you how you should live your life, but you are the only one that can make the decisions. Also, remember that old adage – time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. If you do this then life will seem a lot more enjoyable and a lot less like hard work. I always remember this no matter what the situation, because when you’re travelling and out of your comfort zone, life can seem just a little bit tough at times.
Yeah, I know, I posted this a couple of years ago, but I just re-read it and thought it was worth a second go around!