I was sitting at one of Bode’s afternoon activity classes the other day next to a very nice woman who seemed to also be waiting for her child in the same class. At one point, I happened to notice that she was playing a card game on her phone and it got me thinking about something Ben had posted about in the last couple of months.
While I know this is going to come across as judgmental by anyone out there that kills time by playing games, reading tabloid magazine articles, or watching certain reality TV shows, I’m going to risk making the following comments in an effort to encourage you to question how you’re choosing to spend the rare, yet potentially valuable, moments of spare time that you occasionally find in your day.
As a parent, I know these are things I, personally, nag my children on: playing video games, sending actually meaningless pictures to friends on Snapchat, watching trashy TV shows inside on a beautiful day, and following Instagram accounts of people that do nothing but contribute negative energy to the social media world.
Ben brought up a point that I’ve been questioning the soundness of ever since, but have yet to find a reason to not agree with him on. His point was that you should be spending every available opportunity to learn or move yourself in a better direction than you already are. And, if you’re not taking advantage of those opportunities, you’re delaying your progress as a human being.
Waiting for your kid at swim class, driving…even for 10 minutes…in your car, flying in an airplane, in a waiting room or in line at the grocery store, while you’re preparing food in the kitchen, or those 10-20 minutes at night you spend in bed before you finally turn off the light and close your eyes to sleep.
I’m pretty good about this, but I am sooo far from truly taking advantage of all of the opportunities in my day that I can either learn something or become a better person.
Now, those two goals can encompass a lot more than listening to podcasts and reading books every free minute in your day, right?
There are conversations that are being missed with even complete strangers that could turn into life changing encounters.
There are physical things out there in the world that we’re not even noticing every day because we’re just too distracted by the chatter to even notice.
There are phone calls not being made to family members and far away friends because we’re listening to random radio stations in the car.
And, there are the multiple times in a day that I catch myself saying or thinking about how I “don’t have time” to do something…then, later give in to the temptation to “waste time” doing things that are keeping me from growing in some way.
It’s not easy to choose a Ted Talk over blasting country music with my windows down while I do the Mom-driving every day. But, it NEVER fails to broaden my mind and get me motivated to want more out of life than I already enjoy and appreciate.