If you knew you had an hour to live, I bet you wouldn’t waste a second. And yet in daily life, we waste so much time on stupid shit. Like watching television. And reading. And eating. And masturbation. And smoking. And commuting. And chasing money. Maybe it’s just me. I tend to get caught up in the idea of being as productive as possible in every waking moment. Every action, efficient purpose. Vacuuming. Checking email. Balancing the virtual checkbook. Helping with homework. Driving. Of course this means not being able to let go of a lot of things to be spontaneous – OCD and all that. I have daily routines that are so minute in nature, yet critical in my head, that they tend to overwhelm me when intertwined with regular life, and regular work, and sometimes trying to squeeze ‘creation’ in there. I think this is why I don’t do a whole lot of consuming. And when I do, I need it to be efficient. Like movies. In two hours I can immerse myself into a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Sure, I lose two hours of my life, but I get to let my mind relax. And hopefully I’m entertained. I don’t even enjoy the process of eating. Like reading, eating seems to be unnecessarily time-consuming. Sure, some foods taste really, really good and you want the process of mastication to last – like being high on a drug – but beyond that, eating means preparing, eating, and cleaning up. Of course there’s the socializing aspect of eating. As the result of being hyper-connected these past four years, I now agree that socializing is an important part of life. But also, very time-consuming. Which is why digital networking is like walking a tightrope with me. Sharing experiences and engaging with others is natural for most humans. And now we can share and engage 24-7. And some people do. But because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Which is why I have a love-hate relationship with all of this. I’m grateful for the connections over the years. My life is enriched because of them. But the time it takes to share and engage sincerely is too valuable to spend too much time doing. And I see no value in blasting my experiences into a vacuum.

Whether it’s an hour, or thirty years, time will run out. How you use what you have matters. I tend to focus on efficiency. And it feels like a balancing act. But maybe it’s just an illusion.


Jim Mitchem

turning on the mundane
Ode to W.W.

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.