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Enjoy your existence!

By Peter Tapsell - posted Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I have a question and it may cause me to sound a little selfish. Why do I have to fill my day full of jobs and activity? What is the purpose of all this activity and the stress that results from it? OK that’s two questions but I’m sure you get my drift!

There appears to be an underlying ideal that suggests it is somehow wrong to have spare time as if this will result in some awful calamity. Our modern society is finding more and more ways in which we should fill our days and this message is sent our way through advertising, work, peer pressure and even government. We should not waste time. We must be “productive” although nobody has really defined what this means. It probably means many different things to many different people.

Being “productive” all day is fine if you get satisfaction out of it but what if you don’t. What if you are living up to what others feel being “productive” means and this does not fit with your own definition. Filling a day with activities that you don’t really want to do is, in fact, wasting time. Succumbing to a feeling that you must always be busy and turning it into the belief that there is no alternative ignores the fact that you could spend some time reflecting on where we actually are, and how fortunate we are to be here.


Consider how many planets there are in the universe: trillions I expect, or an even bigger number. Consider the chances of life being found on them - very slim indeed: in fact millions and millions to one. Consider, then, how lucky we are that our atoms have managed to organise themselves into coherent beings, irrespective of how you believe that has happened. Are we not therefore duty bound to spend some time simply enjoying our existence?

So have a lazy day in the back garden enjoying the feeling of the sun on your skin, or listening to the wind rustle in the leaves (if you still have any trees left in your neighbourhood!). Alternatively, simply enjoy being able to daydream. Keep at bay the nagging feeling that you should be doing something else. This takes a bit of training, but I can attest that it is very possible to do. This is certainly not wasting time, despite what others may say.

Spend some time marvelling in the fact that a thin layer of ozone is stopping you being fried on the spot where you are sitting. Be amazed at how thin the atmosphere really is, and that without its accompanying magnetic field you would be exposed to the solar wind - and die very quickly. Spend some time thinking about the structure of the planet that provides this protective magnetic field. We live a relatively fragile existence and are here against all probability.

So forget concepts like being “productive”, being “time-poor”, or even the whole concept of wasting time, after all it is yours to do with as you wish. Physicists suggest that time might not be absolute after all - so who knows what lies ahead; it might already have happened!

In these times of financial crises, political infighting, environmental changes, terrorism and strife, don’t let yourself forget how lucky we are to exist and be able to use our senses to enjoy the world on which we live. Don’t get too caught up in the politics, the financial crisis, or even, dare I say it, the environmental challenges we are facing. Life is about more than this, much more. We could be hit by an unknown meteor next year or next month so think about what you can take with you when you go.

Well, actually, you can’t take anything with you and that is the point. The only thing that can be of any use when you are lying on your deathbed (other than being able to reverse time - and I’m sure aforementioned physicists are working on this!) is your life’s experiences. We only get one go at life, unless you are convinced that there is something to reincarnation. One go, that is all.


So don’t get caught up in dreaming about what you want to do if you could only free yourselves of your chains. Use some of your precious time to do that which you want to do (but let your partner know first, they might get a bit of a shock if you suddenly call them from half way up Mount Everest!).

Remember, a wasted life is one that you haven’t enjoyed … so enjoy it and put modern society into its proper perspective. There will always be people telling you how you should live your life, but you are the only one that can make the decisions. And finally, remember that old adage - time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

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About the Author

Peter Tapsell has worked in universities, the mining industry, and government. He has also carried out some private consultancy work, mostly in areas related to the environment. He enjoys writing prose, verse and music and performing his creations. Peter blogs at I'd rather be at the Beach but ...

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