you heard me. wastes of time are gone. they may have existed in your former life, but from now on, every experience is worthwhile. if you’re present for it, you can benefit from it. here’s how.
our ability to choose our thoughts lets us think outside current circumstances, right? we can physically stand in line at the supermarket but be elsewhere mentally. some call this “spacing out.” i prefer “short-circuiting irritation.”
if you adjust to see “waste of time” predicaments as opportunities to learn or connect with others, you’ll realize:
it’s only a waste of time if you don’t use it constructively.
if this sounds hopelessly stupid, consider your alternatives—brooding, frustration, and resentment, topped with a victim attitude. instead, consider the time a gift and ask, “what can i learn right now?” because everything—each interaction, encounter, conversation—has the potential for meaning. it’s all in how you view it.
but Julia, you whine, what about going to the DMV? it’s the worst. i concede it’s not the greatest. but in 2002 i was there with my mom trying desperately to pass my Pennsylvania learner’s permit test before starting college. and although it was my seventh attempt, i still had a good time.
initially, the mood was grim and my mom was (understandably) sick of driving me to various DMVs across Philadelphia, because it was too embarrassing to return to the same branch after every failed test. plus, i nurtured a delusional theory that the test’s difficulty varied at each location.
as we waited, i studied the driver’s ed book and out of the corner of my eye noticed someone standing in the aisle searching for a place to sit. without looking up i moved my feet so the person could reach the free seats next to me.
in retrospect, that’s reckless DMV behavior. the person could have been any freak under the sun, getting out of the sun to enjoy central air on a humid, late August day in downtown Philadelphia.
but it was a normal Indian guy! we started chatting, mostly about Indian literature, which i’d studied during my last semester of high school.
during a lull in our conversation, my mom asked me what time the DMV closed. you’d think we’d have been pros by then but i wasn’t sure. so she said,
“well, can you ask your friend?”
i looked at the guy and we burst out laughing. the blatant absurdity and adorable inclusiveness of calling a complete stranger “friend” was too much.
as it turned out, the DMV closed soon and my “friend” and i parted ways forever. but an otherwise miserable experience became fun and educational.
now go out there and make a new “friend.”