“Don’t wish your life away”

CalMy late father had a few wise sayings, and one of them was “Don’t wish your life away”. He would say this whenever I said “I wish it was my birthday”, or “I can’t wait for the holidays”, or “only two more weeks to go until Christmas”, and on and on.
“Don’t wish your life away,” he would say.
When I was young, I used to think this was quite funny. Being immortal at that stage, of course, I would constantly be in a state of wild anticipation of The Next Big Thing that would be happening in my life.
Now that I am older, I understand what he meant. Instead of wishing days, weeks and months away, we should try to enjoy each one as they come and for what they are.
Retailing and media conspire against us doing this, of course. Not two weeks after Christmas, Easter stuff was in the shops in Melbourne. Easter is not until late March! And in the week after Christmas in NZ, where I had a short vacation, the TV was full of ads urging people to sign up for some ghastly hamper service that you pay into every week to have food delivered for next Christmas.
The result as I see it is that so many people seem to be lurching from one consumer-driven “celebration” to the next, and life passes by in a flash. Before you know it, Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate is here once again and “Where did the time go?”, we exclaim to each other.
“It’s been a long day” is not usually a sentence you utter when you’ve enjoyed a day. But it should be. I want to take each hour of the day as a gift, as a separate entity in which something wonderful can be achieved, thought or read.
Even though most of the year I work around 60 hours a week, I have plenty of time for leisure, because I make it a rule not to work past 6pm, unless I’m absolutely desperate and have a deadline that can’t be avoided.
Otherwise, I have this time every day to relax as I want to, and perhaps to cook the evening meal (my husband and I share the cooking).
Actually, I used to be a TV junkie. I would watch up to eight hours a day, and if I wasn’t working next morning, would stay up watching until 2am. And we didn’t even have pay TV!
But when we moved houses in April 2014, I stopped watching so much TV. I stopped watching most commercial news broadcasts, trashy ‘reality’ shows, game shows and soaps. Now I watch great dramas, comedies and the occasional movie. I watch interesting or entertaining documentaries. I even watch the occasional reality show if it can tell me about something I didn’t know or can entertain me. I watch only about two hours’ TV a night, and often less.
I do play computer games, often for hours at a time. But I find that I can play them while thinking about other things at the same time. I get lots of planning done and think up new ideas when I appear to be pushing buttons on a computer game. This is my secret weapon!
But from time to time, I find myself still trying to speed up days, weeks, even months. It’s good to have stuff to look forward to, I know, but I have to keep reminding myself: “Don’t wish your life away”!

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