Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wasting Time

by Jo Robertson


Readers, I apologize for re-publishing this post, but since I had to pull it early a few weeks ago, I decided to use it again.

When I was a wife and mother, being a strong Type-A kind of woman, I used to become annoyed every time I saw my young husband resting or lazing around.

Reading a newspaper, professional journal, or watching sports on TV. What a waste of time!

My life was filled with deadlines. Morning dishes done bef
ore lunch rolled around. Diapers washed and dried before the stack of clean ones dwindled to nothing. Toys strewn around the house picked up before Daddy walked in the door from school.

Who had time to waste engaging in such frivolous activities as reading a book?

Or watching television.

Exercising.

Or, heaven forbid, relaxing in a hot tub scented with lavend
er bubbles.

One day I came home from the grocery store to find a note clipped to the refrigerator.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

What??!!

Wasted time is wasted time, right? How dare my husband imply that some wasted time was okay and some not.

Several decades later I understood the truth of that little slogan.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Listening to music with no distractions.

Writing in your journal.

Reading your favorite author.

Painting something other than the walls of your house.

Pruning the roses, not because they're as scraggly as Rip Van Winkle's beard, but because you enjoy their gentle fragrance.

Sitting in the glider on the back patio watching the birds chatter by the fence.

Gazing into the fire, feeling the heat on your face.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Don’t get me wrong. A Type-A person doesn’t easily evolve into a laid-back, easy-going Type-B one. I still move at warp speed to complete even the most menial tasks. I still eat so fast you’d think I was ending a week-long hunger strike. I still rush, not stroll, around the mall when shopping.

But occasionally, I waste time.


It’s a grand feeling.

What do you do to “waste time,” renew your spirits, rejuvenate your energies. What’s your particular unique "wasted time"?

50 comments:

PJ said...

Am I first?

PJ said...

Oh wow! I did it! I really did it! Y'all come on home with PJ, Mr. GR. I'm gonna show you what Southern hospitality is all about. Yes, indeed I am.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh,man! I was so close!!! One MINUTE!!! PJ, you wotten wooster nabber, you!

Ahem, congratulations, PJ!

Jo, what a great post. I'm so glad you put it up again. Actually the wasting time usefully trick is one I need to get back into. It was one I had down pat when I was younger. And I learnt a lot of the tricks of my trade by what was assumed to be wasting my time reading romance novels.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Drat! PJ, you wotten...oh Anna already said that.

Ahem.

Well, my darling fellow Southerner, congratulations on nabb...catching the GR! :>

I stayed up in the vain hope....

Harumpf! Going to bed now.

Grins. Seriously, have fun w/ it PJ! (Waving at Anna. Good afternoon there, Oz!)

jo robertson said...

Oh, yeah, PJ, you DID it! Wahoooo!Ya'll are crazy there on the east coast, staying up so late. But it paid off. Now, no stuffing the little guy with southern fried chicken and grits.

Yes, Anna, I suspect a lot of the really good writers (like you, m'dear) spent a lot of "wasted" time reading books their parents and teachers thought were doing them no good at all. Ha, way to show them!

Aunty Cindy said...

WTG, PJ!
Enjoy that wandering fowl for the short time you have him. I hear Tawny and Fedora over in the corner plotting to get him back. :-)

Great post, Jo-Mama! Glad you put it back up since I missed it the first time around. I have thoroughly enjoyed wasting time in a variety of ways.

Yes, I got reprimanded A LOT back in the day for reading instead of doing homework, chores or whatever. Then came my glorious career, and my favorite time waster became SLEEPING! All those years of being forced to function as a morning person were pure torture. Now I can sleep as late as I want and believe me, I DO!

AC
who plans to remind Jo-Mama about that handy little phrase the next time she yells at me for not having my chapter ready for our critique meeting. :-P

Keira Soleore said...

PJ!! Now you can share your tiara with the GR. I bet he'd been dying to visit you to wear the tiara and sample you scrumptious chocolates and cookies.

I need that slogan badly. This is mindful waste of time, not a zoning-out in front of the idiot box night after night.

My favorite time waster is coming online to chat on boards and blogs.

Helen said...

Congrats PJ have fun with him

Great post Jo I love wasting time reading watching a good movie its the only way to go of course to me reading isn't time wasting but a very enjoyable pastime that will take me to lots of places I probably will never get to.

Have Fun
Helen

Christine Wells said...

Woohoo, PJ, congrats on snaffling the GR from that wicked Tawny girl.

Jo, I really enjoyed this post--particularly because it told me exactly what I want to hear. Everything moves at such a rapid pace now that we so rarely stop to smell the roses. I'm just about ready for a reading binge because I've been on quarter rations for a while now. I'll take comfort that I'm not really wasting my time. And it's all market research, dontcha know!

PJ said...

Jo, what a wonderful post. Very wise words, indeed.

We all slept a little late this morning after a very late Saturday night. First, there was the excitement of welcoming the GR into my home. Then "G" (we're on a first initial basis now) insisted on learning more about this game called college basketball that had me awake way past my normal bedtime and had enabled me to nab...uh, invite G home for a little quality bonding. Plus, I figured a lesson was in order since we'll be watching a lot more of the game this afternoon and evening. Then I had to placate Smokey and Cassy, who aren't used to having their space invaded by wascally woosters and assure them that, yes, they could and would all play nice and have a good visit and even though G would crow quite loudly if Cassy ran around the house squeezing him in her mouth that NO, that did *not* mean he was her newest squeeze toy! I was afraid the feathers were gonna fly with that one but a truce was agreed upon and we all went to bed, Cassy happily snuggled up next to her stuffed duck toy and G atop the armoire, happily snoozing on his fit-for-a-king-rooster pillow that I had made just in case he ever deigned to visit my humble abode.

Sigh...peace reigns in the kingdom.

Trish Milburn said...

It's become harder to enjoy just lounging around reading a book for pure pleasure since I became a writer. I end up thinking about what I should be writing or plotting, or that I should be reading books by my publisher in support and to keep up with the direction they are moving. I end up usually just reading before I go to sleep at night.

I do enjoy kicking back and watching TV or movies, or going to the movie theater and indulging in some nachos while I'm there. :)

Oh, and you all know about my love for wasting time on YouTube.

PJ, LOL. I love the description of your evening with G. :)

Joan said...

PJ! Congrats on the GR! I agree with Trish....your royal welcome may make it difficult for the rest of us to ever entice him back again.

Wasted time? Mine was watching my Cards LOSE last night (Behave, Duchesse....). I'd have thought the GR would have crowed LOUDER for a fellow bird!

I'm not a Type A by any means but I do seem to need to be doing SOMETHING all the time.

But being able to just sit back and relax is very necessary to one's well being. That's one (of about a thousand) reasons why I enjoy visiting Ireland.

Going to Ireland, $$$. Listening to music in a pub, $$, enjoying the scenery while sitting on a stone wall, priceless

Kirsten said...

Hello Banditas and BBs! (those are the Bandita Buddies, of course!) I'm back from a lovely vacation to southern california. Not a bit of tan on my pasty body, but my kids are definitely a few shades darker (they've got a bit of cherokee in them, so they actually tan, unlike their mom!).

Jo, I could have written this post!!! I mean, every single word is one that I've said before. Even the part about trying to slow down and be deliberate and enjoy that part of life as much as the rushing around.

I was proud of myself that I went for a week vacation without internet (not easy, during the GH finalist announcements!). That's a big part of slowing down for me. Didn't manage to put away the blackberry completely, but I did let the work pile up back home without trying to keep up.

I have a really hard time coming up with time wasters, but internet is right up there. Sometimes i think my worst time waster is trying to multi-task so much I forget what I was doing in the first place. I start writing an email, check voice mail, talk to a co-workers about a project, go back to the email and can't remember what I was doing, and forget competely about the voice mail I had just checked.

Slow down! slow down! I should tattoo this on my forehead. :-)

-Kirsten

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ah, Joanie, me lass, perhaps the trip across the pond will ease your cardinal disappointment...So I won't be a heel and rub it in ANY MORE. Grins.

Its funny because I used to be so much better about "not-wasted, wasted time" than I am now. I resonated so much to your early words about the diapers and routines for lunch and the madcap pace and I don't even have a DDJ (dreaded day job). Well, yes I do, but its not that dreaded, it's being a mom, writer and consultant. BUT, there's the mom part...

Still, I really think sitting down w/ a good book is a great example for my kids, so I'm always glad to do that. Purely for the example, of course. (NOT!)

Gardening. Nothing like a few hours playing in the dirt to get things in perspective. Or work out those thorny (ha, ha!) plot issues.

Great post, Jo, both the first time and this time too! :>

Suzanne Welsh said...

Congratulations PJ! Glad to know the GR and your dogs are getting along so famously.

Wonderful post, Jo. I loved it the first time around, too.

When I was a young girl and teenager, I drove my Dad crazy. There wasn't a day the poor man didn't see me with my nose stuck in a book. I'm terribly nearsighted and always read with my glasses off. So my nose was LITERALLY stuck in the book, LOL. When my mom had to work late at the hospital, (Yes, I'm a second generation nurse), and it was my turn to cook, I even sat at the table and read while the dinner burne...er cooked. :)

Now a days I still read quite a bit, but writing does take up more time, so my reading takes place at night at work, or when the house is empty.

And my other guilty pleasures? Baseball and Football!! Speaking of which.......

Opening Day is.....TODAY or Tomorrow. Men in uniforms, pitching, hitting, running, sliding, diving for balls....Jake Westbrooke on the mound... 161 games or more on Direct TV!! OH baby!

doglady said...

YAY, PJ!! I know you will show the Golden Boy some good ole Southern hospitality that does NOT involve fried C-H-I-C-K-E-N. I loved your description of the evening! We really do need to start a journal of the GR's adventures. He is definitely a well traveled bird.

Jo, I love this post and I really need to remind myself of that little mantra from time to time. It is SO hard for me to waste time and NOT feel guilty. I work the DDJ, I come home and there is so much to do here, I need to write and if I do anything other than those 3 things I find myself feeling guilty.

I have tried to eliminate that kind of thought because I find I write better if I have spent some time just relaxing - physically, mentally, spiritually.

I was another one of those "forever with my nose in a book" kids. Fortunately, my parents both came from dirt poor backgrounds (coalminers and share cropping Indians)and education was everything to them. They never gave me grief about reading even when they had to push the book down to ask me to set the table.

Now I take time every day to play with my dogs. They are masters of the art of relaxing. I used to feel like I should be doing something "important" when I stopped to play with them. Not any more. My two indoor dogs get to interact with me every minute I am home. My outside rescue dogs don't always get that. So I take an hour a day at least to play with those dogs. Trust me, playing fetch, chase, catch or any of another doggie games with NINE dogs is great exercise and not for the faint of heart. They play with complete reckless abandon and sheer joy in the moment. And the main reason I do it is because I know what they came from - abuse, starvation, abandonment. One came out of Hurricane Katrina. I remember their faces when I got them. I remember the horrible situations they came from and I look at them now and I think "I am getting far more out of this relationship than they ever will." But my playing with them and sometimes just laying in the grass with them is my way of paying them back for all they have given me and taught me. Now if I could just get one of them to get a job to pay for all of the tennis balls, soccer balls and rope toys we have destroyed in the process!! Thank God my Mom thinks about her "granddogs" on holidays! They haven't destroyed their Easter toys yet!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah! Doglady! Great work w/ the rescue dogs. It's incredibly rewarding, isn't it? I don't have any right now, but did some rescue before the kids came along.

Grins. Time spent w/ the fur children is never wasted either. It lowers your blood pressure, raises your spirits and generally does a body good. So, what's not to love, right? :>

PJ said...

(((Doglady))) Big hugs for all the wonderful love and attention you're giving those dogs. Both mine are rescues and, as you said, they give me so much more than I could ever dream of giving them.

jo robertson said...

Uh, AC, I do NOT see myself letting you off the hook so easily. I'm still going to demand to see the POSS when I next see you! (For those of you unacquainted with the acronym, it's AC's concoction of Piece of s##* synopsis, the writing of which stymies even the best of us sometimes.)

jo robertson said...

OK, gang, this totally makes my point. My neighbor of twenty-three years (Joe) was up at 8:00 a.m. on this beautiful California Sunday, buzzing away with one of his wide array of power tools. Now, I admire industry and hard work as much as the next fellow, but isn't Sunday supposed to be the Day of Rest??

The thing is Joe, while very handy at things like building the deck in his back yard and refinishing the kitchen cabinets, doesn't particularly ENJOY the so-called hobby. He's a retired attorney and state worker; she's a retired worker for the feds. So money's not an issue.

So why continuing laboring over something you do NOT like doing if you can afford to hire someone instead and spend your free time with the labor of love that makes you feel content?

In the words of Cassondra, I'm just saying . . . time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

jo robertson said...

Anna, it's funny you should should mention you had the trick down as a youngster. I think most of us don't even LEARN the trick until old age, and presumably wisdom, set in.

Keira, isn't it just wicked fun to be able to interact with people here in the Lair? I love all our new-found friends and the funny and smart comments bandied about here.

jo robertson said...

Helen, when I had all my teenagers at home (in one year there were five of them, plus a tweener and an 8 YO), I used to sneak off to a movie by myself once a week. I swear, it was the only way I could blank out all the stress of teenage-angst-hood.

Fortunately, Dr. Big was very understanding, probably because it kept me from freaking out on a regular basis.

jo robertson said...

Christine, here's a secret about parenting if you're a Type-A person like me that no one ever tells you about:

I used to love (and pride myself in) being able to multi-task, run at high-speed, literally race to get things done. In fact, I sort of enjoyed living on the edge like that (anyone identify with that?)

But no one told me there'd be a physical price to pay for that. The body and mind just can't take that kind of high-octane edginess all the time.

So, I'm passing that along to all you younger ladies -- TIME YOU ENJOY WASTING IS NOT WASTED TIME.

jo robertson said...

Hilarious, PJ, glad to see that "G" is becoming so entrenched in your family. Uh, should we be worried about this? A pillow fit for a king that's all his own?

jo robertson said...

Trish, I agree that it's become harder to indulge in recreational reading since I began writing in earnest. But I force myself to do it because it renews my sense of comraderie in the writing community and, of course, it's all about the research, right?

Movies, TV, they do the same thing for me. As you may suspect, I don't feel guilty about much of anything any more, crusty old broad that I've become.

jo robertson said...

Just go right ahead and throw it in our face Joanie -- Ireland. Very big sigh. Soooo want to go on that "priceless" trip!

We felt that way about Scotland -- like returning home!

jo robertson said...

Uh, yes, Kirsten, see my comment to Christine. I suspect you enjoy a love-hate relationship with that running around like a mad hatter thing. I know I did. Must have been the adrenaline/endorphine rush or something. Well, and let's face it -- NECESSITY! I could work circles around anyone I knew, but I wonder now what I couldn've let go if I'd taken time to WASTE doing things that enriched my soul, you know?

Remember that old poem about rocking babies because dust and dishes would keep? I wish I'd paid more attention to that!

jo robertson said...

Ah, Jeanne, GARDENING! Isn't that such a well, earthy thing to do? I always feel like I'm communing with something so much bigger than myself, digging my fingers in the dirt. Sadly, I'm one of those people with purple thumbs, but I do enjoy talking to my tomatoes every year. Uh, crazy old broad?

jo robertson said...

Yike, Suz, my dad was always yelling at me for reading. I grew to hate that expression -- nose in a book! One good thing I did -- never criticized my kids for reading and to this day, they're all voracious readers.

I liked to read to them too because I liked making up the theatrical voices, but it was very hard making the time. A young mother always has soooo many things to do.

Who was the poet who said, "richer than me you'll never be, I had a mother who read to me."

Uh, anyone feeling guilty yet LOL.

jo robertson said...

Doglady, you are amazing! I think it takes a special person to parent dogs like you do. I'm more a cat-person, but I know that connecting with your "children" is a spiritual rejuvenation for you and so necessary for your doggies' health.

Congrats again on your GH nomination. We're all routing for you, BB!

jo robertson said...

LOL, that would be rooting, doglady. Routing would be just too funny.

Off to indulge in the institutionalized version of church now. I'd rather be like E. Dickinson -- some keep the Sabbath going to church, I keep it staying at home -- but old habits die hard.

And, dang it, I love the music too much!

Aunty Cindy said...

(Aunty sighs heavily) Yeah, I knew that reasoning would NOT work with you, Jo-mama (she's such a harsh task-mistress!) but I had to try. ;-)

Suz, I was super-nearsighted too! (Thank you God and Dr. Rick Jones for my laser surgery!) My nose was LITERALLY IN the book too. Both my parents read also, but I didn't get out of chores by reading, though heaven knows I tried.

Doglady, SPECIAL KUDOS to you and your rescue dogs! Both my girls were also rescues and I NEVER consider time spent with them as wasted. I really do not know what I would do without them!

AC
back to the POSS rather than face the wrath of Jo-Mama

doglady said...

Thanks, Jo! All rooting and routing is greatly appreciated. Actually all three of my cats are rescues as well. Two are complete couch potatoes (23 lbs and 17lbs)They were rescued from a feral colony that was going to be exterminated. The third was dumped on my attorney's doorstep, barely 4 weeks old. Now SHE thinks she is a dog because my late Great Dane raised her. Kudos to you PJ for giving your rescues a home. They always seem so appreciative, don't they.

Had to laugh at your nod to institutionalized religion. I go for the music as well. I sang the solos at two cathedrals in Salzburg every Sunday for over a year. Some Catholics don't attend mass that often and I'm a Methodist!

Anna Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anna Campbell said...

Gee, PJ, I've known him for years and I still have to call him Mr. Rooster. Clearly the Southern charm is working a treat!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Jo, I'm laughing at the theatrical voices. I used to read this book about the muppets' Swedish Baker to my son. I'd use a different accent for every page. By the end of the book, he'd grab my face in both little hands and say, "Mommy, use your real voice!"

catslady said...

My best friend is Type A and I am definitely Type B - most of the time we're good for each other but there are days...I've learned that if we are to go out to lunch together I take half my lunch home or I get indigestion lol. I've learned that she is always late because she has to do 3 or 4 things before the alloted time. Hopefully I've taught her to relax once in a while (I lend her my books).

Susan Seyfarth said...

Congrats on the GR, PJ! Nice nab!

As for time wasters that I love, nothing beats holding a sleeping baby. I could put her down, sure. Get some laundry done. Some dishes. God knows the floor could use sweeping. But she's such a warm, snuggy bundle in my arms & my book is *right there*...

I'll be so sad when the baby stops napping.

limecello said...

I waste time by reading, going online and reading blogs, chatting with friends, and emailing. I do enjoy it while I'm doing it, but then I feel guilty for not doing my work, and then regret for not doing what I had to get done. *sigh* The life of an overworked student :P

Christie Kelley said...

Way to go, PJ. The GR has made it to SC.

Great post again, Jo. I know I commented the last time but I'll do so again!

Sorry I haven't been around much the past few days. No, I wasn't wasting time. Just dealing with a work issue for the past week that is driving me crazy. And then still working on the house.

But hey, I impregnated my marble floor today. Yep, that's what the protectant is called, Impregnator. As long as I wasn't the one being impregnated, I was fine with it. Sticky stuff though.

My biggest time waster is Bejeweled on Yahoo games. I love that stupid game. Totally addicted to it and must play at least once a day.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Susan Smoov, be sure to keep snuggin' that baby for as long as you can. They do grow waaaaay to fast. Mine's still napping at 3 but he won't do it in my arms or on my shoulder anymore. (Sigh)

And Jo, you're so right about reading to them. And Suz, I was LOL about the voices. My older son likes me to read more than his Dad because I do the voices. The little one just wants you to read over and over and over...you get the idea. I love reading their books nearly as much as I love reading books of my onw. :>

Has anyone read John, Paul, George and Ben? It's a total crack up.

Keira Soleore said...

JoMama, all your fault! That image with the tub stuck with me all day, until I caved and ran a bath for myself. Aaaahhhhhh. I almost fell asleep in there. What a luxury!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Pamela, aka Doglady, that's one big cat. We had a tom once who was about 25#, beautiful guy, but a little psycho. Only my Kennan could bring him down from the edge and he really did have nine lives!

Awww, Suz, what a sweet memory. I think my kids preferred the made-up voices to my normal one. We made up songs too, silly made-up tunes with goofy words that always, of course, had the child's name prominently featured. I think every mom does that kind of thing, although I do have a memory or two of saying, if you aren't asleep in two minutes, someone's going to visit the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and it isn't going to be me!

jo robertson said...

Good strategy, catlady, and one of the reasons I always have a book on my person!

Oh, Susan, I so identify with that! I want one of my daughters to have another baby, just so I can do that! But alas, I think everyone's done now.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jo, my DH keeps saying, "Gosh, maybe we should have one more. It would be so fun to do the snuggle thing, and both our boys are so good and...."

I cut off that line of thinking immediately. "We're too old, the third one would be a hellion, and we are D.O.N.E."

Grins. But there's always grandkids...and friend's children... :>

Had to LOL about the orthopedic surgeon. Mine's usually, "you'll be sleepin' through baseball if you don't go to BED!"

jo robertson said...

Ouch, sorry, Catslady, I knew you had more than one.

Limecello, a student's life is such a paradox, the best of life and the worst of it. You've probably told us, but what are you studying?

Thanks for posting again, Christie! Uh, that impregnated thing is so tempting me to make an inappropriate comment, especially the sticky part. Still, I sympathize with your long-time construction hassles.

You'll have to explain Bejeweled to me. I need another time waster LOL.

jo robertson said...

Jeanne, I always wanted to be able to write children's books. I think they're so much fun. My daughter Shannon made up a rap song when Max was being potty trained that was just hilarious. Sadly, that's NOT one of my talents.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Keira, accept and lovingly release. I'm headed for that tub lolly-gagging myself as soon as I finish posting! I have just enough lavender-scented bubble bath for one more dip!

jo robertson said...

Jeanne, you sound like you could be a soul sister to my Shannon. She has three of the most amazing children I've ever met, so good, so naturally kindhearted. I tell her she doesn't know what parenting NORMAL kids is like. She's flirting with the idea of JUST ONE MORE and her husband keeps pulling her from the edge of insanity.

flchen1 said...

Ooh, lovely post, Jo! (I enjoyed it the first time, too ;)) My big time-eaters are reading and hanging out on the Internet... I'm trying not to spend all hours doing the two since the kids have to eat at least occasionally ;)

Congrats, PJ! Sounds like the GR's having a marvelous time learning about college basketball and such after learning all about snazzy shoes at Tawny's! (Caren, fortunately no recent encounters with heavy furniture for me--thanks for checking ;))