A Scripted Self-Talk Reminder that Time is Short
Seneca was a philosopher from the Roman Imperial period, yet it seems like he is writing for the present day. His quote strongly reinforces one of the lessons I’m learning from Covid: When I am given the time I otherwise beg for, I waste too much of it.
I am guilty of bemoaning that life is too short, and it is, yet I have to take responsibility for what I can control, which is what I do with the fleeting time that I have. This ancient quote is an excellent reminder to use what you’ve got.
When I think about the things I waste time on, I am not talking about binge watching great movies or shows for fun. I am also not talking about the times that I purposefully enjoy having nothing to do. I don’t see these as wastes of time. They are intentional activities for the purpose of relaxing, rejuvenating, and enjoying the moment.
I’m talking about true wastes of my time — wastes of mental and physical energy. I am talking about the times I spend in my own head on things that don’t matter. I am also talking about all of the time I waste wishing things were different and judging. These are times when I tell myself — if things were different, I would have more energy; I would have more fun; my life would be so much better. So, I wait for things to change; I have a pity party; and I waste time by giving it away.
I’m calling myself out on self-pity. Here is my own self-talk script for wasting time:
Okay snowflake, enough BS. This pity party is over.
You will not waste today wishing for what is not. You will not waste today feeling sorry for yourself. You’re giving it all away. Know better. Choose better.
You will get off your ass and do the best with what you have. Along the way you may see things you’d missed. You may even find that there is happiness and fulfillment to be had, but you won’t find any of that at this pity party. You absolutely won’t find it in your cluttered and judgmental head.
If all you have is now, are you seriously going to throw it away because it isn’t the now you’ve dreamed about …. because things aren’t ideal?
No, you are not.
You’ve been playing the motherfucker again, but you already know the ending to that story. You feel lethargic and apathetic. You open your shit sack and pull out all of the mistakes you’ve made and all of the fucked up self-judgments you’ve collected along the way. And, in the end, where are you? Fucked in the head having done nothing with this moment and feeling even worse about it.
Well, no more. Today, you will do what you’ve been avoiding even if you don’t feel like it. You will force yourself to look at the moment differently. You will treat today like the precious resource it is, and you will stop bemoaning that you don’t want it to be like this.
Call the friend you’ve been missing. Take that walk in the woods that leaves you awestruck. Tell people you love them. Do a good dead. Go out of your way to extend kindness. Send thanks to someone you’ve taken for granted. Play that game with the kids. Write that email. Get a jump on those plans. Donate to that cause. Ask that person if they need help. Say you are sorry. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do. Get out your calendar and schedule time with the people you’ve been meaning to contact. Do it all.
If you knew that today would be your last, would you seriously waste it like this? Take a moment to consider what you want in life, what you want to contribute, what brings you joy. Your eyes are open. You are responsible for what you bring to the table. This shitshow is yours. Don’t waste a minute feeling sorry for yourself. You’re not a victim. Stop acting like one. Own it and MOMF.
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