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Time is of the essence, so have fun

By MIMI BECKER

Coffee with Mimi

“Time is of the essence” — the source of the phrase is found in contract law. I was hoping I would be writing about something more poetic or even philosophically existential. But no, the phrase refers to contractual obligations being met in a timely manner.  Nevertheless, it suits my purposes.  Time is a precious commodity and we can choose to use it wisely or not.

Recently, following a very long day, some glitches occurred in the process of finishing up a project.  The day had been so enjoyable visiting with people I don’t often see.  But, at the very end, there was this thing.  The thing had to be done and it did not go well. 

The effect was not satisfying. It threw me off my game. It was not fun.

I told my husband that I don’t have time to do things that are not fun. I have reached a time in my life when I can choose how I spend my time and I am choosing to have fun. I am responsible for my choices, so I plan to use my time in activities that are fun.

Fun is everything from joking or teasing, to amusing, to enjoyment and pleasure.  The word can be used as a noun or an adjective or a verb.  I choose to utilize each and every form of the word. I do promise to have fun responsibly. I will not be careless or sacrifice the enjoyment of others in my quest.

A child cannot choose to have fun. They either do or they don’t at the behest of others around them.  Playing outside is great fun, but it is over when Mom says it is time to come in for a bath, or homework. No choice in the matter.  A child will not look at the experience of a bath or homework instead of playing outside as fun.

As an adult, I do make my own decisions. I do have responsibilities as previously discussed. I have obligations as a wife, a parent, a daughter, a manager, a friend and so on. There are timetables, budgets and commitments in all those roles. It is not possible to simply check out and refuse to engage when the mood strikes. Sometimes, you just have to be there because otherwise would be unwise.

In those situations, a person can choose to either be resentful or something else, which is certainly more satisfying.  For the sake of simplicity, I’m calling it fun.

Having fun is a valuable life skill. 

Consider the day in question, the one when I stubbornly informed my husband I no longer have time for things that are not fun. It had been a very long day which started very early. I am an early riser, but I like to drink my coffee and contemplate the day for a while in the comfort of my own space before I launch out in the world.  Even though I wake up early by habit, never needing an alarm, when I am required to be up and out, I will sleep badly, worrying all through the night that I won’t wake up as usual. 

On the day in question, I began my day quite sleep deprived. Fortunately, I had prepared everything I needed for the event and didn’t need to run around getting my gear gathered. My co-participants in this event were in the same boat. That is always a good sign as we can commiserate and laugh at each other fumbling through the day. We created little games to help pass the time. As the hours crept along, we all caught a second wind and were quite cheerful.  An observer would surely have declared us to be a happy bunch.

Then, just as the end was in sight, my cheery disposition was brought to a screeching halt. I am generally a very methodical person. I follow directions and expect doing what I am told to do will get me satisfactorily and happily to the end of the task.

Well, that is not always so. I know that. However, forewarned is not always forearmed, unfortunately.  I would like to say I laughed it off and moved on.  Despite a co-worker’s comforting, cheerful, practical and correct assessment of the problem, I was not seeing any humor in the situation.  I was plain annoyed and grumpy, rushing to get it all over with as if that would make it any better. Rushing never makes it any better; quite the opposite. 

I would give quite a bit to get those moments back, have a do-over.  What a waste of energy and opportunity to end a truly wonderful day of fun and fellowship. Wise people tell me there is no good to be gained in stewing over the past. What’s done is done.  In the balance of life, it is much more beneficial to acknowledge that it was not a shining moment and move on.

I can’t have those moments back. Time is of the essence. I must learn to use it wisely with no regrets.  That would be fun.