Spending time

Spending time

Sometimes right before I come here to write I get distracted by an email or a message, or a social media post. When I do I find it takes me longer to write a sentence. It takes me a while to actually come back to what I was doing. 

Our time is often called the age of distraction. There are shiny objects everywhere that are calling out to us to hold them for a second or two. It is like living in a box of Christmas decorations. There is always something seeking our attention. I try to curate it but still I am captivated by the oddest things at times. Last Saturday afternoon I spent a half hour reading and looking at pictures of Pierce Brosnan and his family. This was odd for me. I don't follow Hollywood. I barely know the name of an actor under sixty. Yet somehow I let myself get sucked into an instagram vortex of a celebrity. When I put my phone down I reminded myself that was time in my life I will never ever get back. That fixes me. When I think of my activity as how I spend my life I am reminded of what I lose when I waste my time. Annie Dillard said, "How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives."

I don't want to get lost in nonsense today. I don't want to go down the rabbit holes that tunnel to nowhere. I want to enjoy my time but also to use it wisely. I want to be present to the world, to know what is happening around me without getting mired down in news and politics and issues. I will do what I can. I will listen some, but I refuse to let the media own my mind. My mind and the time I spend thinking, and living my one little life is too precious to me to let it be overtaken by what's trending on the internet. I need to watch the algorithms and make sure I am not just part of them. 

Going outside, reading books, visiting people, hooking rugs, writing, cooking, are how I want to spend my life. I can choose who I follow, what I watch, what I take in. I can choose and create our own channel. This is the world we live in now. As much as it is an age of distraction, it is also an age of choice.

I can also choose to be distracted occasionally. Harmless really, I suppose. Pierce Brosnan seems like a good fellow.  As long as it only happens on the rare occasion I guess I can forgive myself. Still that was thirty minutes I could have called someone who needed a hello. I could have written a letter to a friend. I could have made a batch of Mary Janet Macdonald's cinnamon buns. I could have hooked on my rug. Could have, should have, it's done now so no matter. 

Today I have a day in front of me. A sacred thing it is to have a day to do what you like. Not to be frittered away like it's nothing. A day is a day. A beautiful thing. I will take Annie's advice and I will spend it like I want to spend my life.

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  • Deanne Fitzpatrick
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