I Believe in Wasting No Time

Marilyn - Olumpia, Washington
Entered on March 14, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

I believe in wasting no time.

I am a list maker, well organized and like to get things done. For most of my life I have been a task master with high expectations of myself and others including my husband, my two children and my students. Though recently, I have come to learn, wasting no time doesn’t mean to be busy accomplishing something every minute, but being still watching sunsets or the lights of the city or just sitting and thinking are also important.

Three years ago I was suddenly out of time with my husband of 35 years.

After an 18-year remission, we learned that his brain tumors had fiercely returned. From his first diagnosis until his death 19 years later, Tom learned to waste no time. He was peaceful, calm, engaged and lived his life as a precious gift. It took me longer – until after his death to finally learn the lesson of using my time wisely.

Knowing the heartache of losing him too soon, brought to the forefront of my mind, just how dear time is and important it is to choose carefully how to spend my time and not to waste it.

After 6 or 7 months of agonizing grief, I started developing a plan for myself and my time. After his death, about once a month I had been driving the 6-hour trip back and forth across the state to visit my adult children. I started looking at job listings in the vicinity across the state that would fit my needs, and I began looking for a house with specific requirements that would fit my new status of being alone. I knew that I didn’t want to waste any more time. A year and a half after Tom’s death, I was on my way across the state, to a new job, a new home and a new life.

Since his death, I have lost two others: my father and a brother-in-law. I now tell those dear to me that I love them and I don’t put it off thinking I’ll have plenty of time. I might not or I might have lots of time. I don’t know.

I am a Teacher-Librarian in a junior high school and read stacks of books both adolescent literature to review for my students and adult books for myself. I don’t finish the bad ones as there are too many good ones waiting for me and I can’t waste the time.

I say “yes” when an opportunity arises for dinner with children or a vacation with sisters or shopping with friends. And I think, why wait to take a yoga class or to dye my hair? I choose to do the things I’ve been wanting to do or spend my time with those I love because now is the time.

Of course, I have tasks each day that I don’t necessarily like, but I have chosen to, so it isn’t a waste of time, and I am protective of my time and don’t allow others to use it without my permission. I find myself smiling on my way to work or in the grocery store or in the kitchen; using my time as I choose.

I don’t waste time waiting for the perfect time; it is now.

Waste no time. And this I believe.