Contemplating Seneca #74: Loss Due to Carelessness

Do I really have the time?

Four weeks of not working flew by way too fast. Every day I was able to accomplish projects that would normally take me weeks. Not being regulated by a schedule that involves 10 hours a day dedicated to working a day job really allowed my personal productivity to skyrocket. Not being regulated by a schedule also meant that I became a little more careless in my other activities.

I am all for a little downtime. It is good to be able to relax, spend more time with family, and work on personal projects. But having too much downtime. I was not prepared for that. I thought I was more disciplined, but I wasn’t. I spent too many late nights reading. I spent more time sleeping, when I was finally able to shut the brain down and go to sleep. I even started playing a few games on my phone, which is something I have not done in a long time.

There wasn’t any whole days that I wasted. But the little snatches here and there? Those got away from me. And in truth, there were way too many. I am reminded of the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, “Space I can recover. Time, never.” The free time I thought I had wasn’t really free. It was costing me dearly. It was something that once passed could not be recovered.

In thinking about squandered time, there is something I need to keep in mind. I can’t go back, but I can do things differently in the future. I can review yesterday and address the tasks of today. I can remember where I dropped the ball and do everything in my power to not repeat the same mistakes.

Make yourself believe the truth of my words—that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach. The most disgraceful kind of loss, however, is that due to carelessness. Furthermore, if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purposeLay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon tomorrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. –Seneca (On Saving Time)

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