If you’re anything like me, you hate spiders and your time is essentially divided into three categories: (1) The things you have to do; (2) The things you want to do; (3) The things you do.
Category one is pretty easy to define. You have to go to work, you have to brush your teeth, you have to pay your bills, you have to take the dog on a walk. (I realize you could quit your job, let your teeth rot, file bankruptcy, and live knee-deep in pooch feces, but let’s not get too philosophical here.)
Category two is a little tougher, but I think most of us could generate a list of our “wants” if we put pen to paper. I want to exercise, I want to read a good book, I want to play a round of golf with my dad, I want to take my wife out to dinner. (Again, wants and needs can walk a very fine line, but hang with me here.)
Category three is probably the easiest. Just have someone follow you around with a video camera and you’ll know exactly how you spend your time. In a typical 24-hour day, I’m guessing a lot of activities show up in category three that don’t also appear in categories one or two. Do you really want or need to watch hours of television? Or eat a bag of potato chips? Or get lost in an Internet black hole?
Too much of my life is spent in category three. When given the option between something I want to do and wasting time, I often choose to waste time. And it leaves me wondering how differently my life would look if I just made better choices. What if, instead of watching television, I walked down to the park and read a book? What if, instead of goofing around on the Internet, I got a beer with a friend? What if, instead of rushing home from campus to sit around the house and do nothing, I wandered over to the baseball stadium and watched the Bearcats beat the University of Norwood?
So, that’s what I did Friday, October 3. I considered every decision. I stopped to think about what I actually wanted to do instead of mindlessly acting out the script my past self has written for my future self. I lived one perfect day. And here’s what that looked like:
Okay, so you may have noticed that it’s May 5 (Happy Cinco de Mayo, by the way), and the date above is October 3. That’s because I wrote the above draft in late September. I saved it, planning to live my “perfect day.” But it never came. Seven months later, I’m still waiting to make space to live 24 purposeful hours. I was going to keep waiting, but then I decided that maybe my “failure” is a lesson itself.
Or maybe I was just tired of seeing it in my “drafts” folder. Also, look at that photo up there! Talk about fun!
Photo (Flickr CC) by Riccardo Cuppini