I had an interesting experience today. Before I get to that, I want to look at one of my favorite quotes, “Carpe Diem”. “Seize the Day”. I’ve always liked that quote because when you have ideas or inspiration you should take action on them immediately. Procrastinating doesn’t help anyone and it is no way to live your life. So “seize the day”, make all of you can out of this moment.
But as I’m seizing the day, what exactly am I supposed to be doing? I always try to be more efficient and get more done with my time. Isn’t that great, getting more stuff done so that I have accomplished more and I have seized more time from each day. I always feel pressure to get more done every day and my son taught me a huge lesson today.
We were playing baseball. Or I was throwing the ball at him and he was swinging and occasionally my fears were justified as he hit it right back at me. I had seven balls and I would pitch them as fast as he was ready. I thought this was a great efficient way of doing things because I could pitch, he swings (sometimes hits it, but usually not) and I’m ready to pitch again.
But each time I was ready to pitch he was fiddling around. He was taking care of a wedgie, picking something off his hand or looking at his feet for some reason. I told him to hurry up and I thought I heard him say that he was ‘saving time’. I kind of got on him. I told him that he wasn’t saving time, he was wasting time and I was ready to pitch and he would get a lot more hits in if he would hurry up, blah, blah, blah.
After my mini lecture was over he looked at me and said, “No Dad, not saving time, savoring time”. I’m still not quite sure where my 8-year-old learned the word ‘savoring’, but his comment really hit me. What if I’ve been doing this “Carpe Diem” thing wrong all along? What if seizing the day isn’t about efficiency, but rather about seizing the moment to watch your son pull the wedgie out, pick at his fingers and stare at his feet between every pitch?
After the park, I came home and saw the worm bin that I made yesterday that was all ready except for the worms (as in I didn’t have any). I’ll write more about the worm bin shortly. Spontaneously I asked my 3 year old if he would like to go worm hunting with me. He was excited, so I grabbed a shovel and we headed for the dirt. I turned over a little dirt and then we would both stare at the soil looking for anything that moved. In about an hour we found 2 or 3 red wriggler worms, several little white worms that I am hoping were babies, but really I have no idea and a couple of night crawlers that I think will die in my worm composting bin.
Several times while I was digging holes I thought to myself, “it would really be inexpensive to go buy a bunch of worms at the fishing store.” And then I would ask my son if he was having fun. Every time, right up to the very end my son said he was having fun hunting worms for our worm bin. As inefficient that task was, my son had fun. And maybe more importantly he spent a full hour focusing and concentrating on finding worms in shovels full of dirt. Maybe I spent an hour preventing Attention Deficit Disorder in my son. It almost seems like my previous understanding of ‘Carpe Diem’ would lead to ADD.
I think this is going to be a life long project, but I am going to try and change my relationship with time. The time that we have is not for us to be more efficient with, but rather to do more meaningful things with. Living a fast pace and accomplishing a lot of tasks, no matter how important, does not mean that you are seizing the day. Seizing the day is about doing meaningful things with time like spending time hunting worms or watching your kid go through an elaborate, time consuming sequence before trying to hit the ball.
In conclusion, I found a new quotes that I very much enjoyed.
Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.