I Shall Use My Time

I'm a big fan of Gretchen Rubin's blog. She wrote The Happiness Project, which I've read twice, and her blog is an ongoing extension of the book. 

One of my favorite series of posts she does is her happiness interviews, where she talks to various authors, creators, and overall cool human beings about the art of being happy and what makes them tick. 

This week's interview was with author Liza Palmer, who said that her happiness mantra is Jack London's Credo, which goes as follows:

          I would rather be ashes than dust!
          I would rather that my spark should burn out
          in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
          I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
          of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
          The function of man is to live, not to exist.
          I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
          I shall use my time.

Isn't that beautiful? So many gorgeous words, all summed up by that last line: I shall use my time. 

That's all what it's been coming down to for me lately. Using my time. Using my time creatively, using it wisely, using it productively. In this constant-flow-of-information and social media age, it's far too easy to use time in all the wrong ways, and I am just as guilty of that as most. 

I also love the line, "The function of man is to live, not to exist."

When I started this blog, and I was trying to think of a good name for it, I realized that what I was doing at that time was simply existing, when what I really wanted to be doing was actively living. 

So I named it Existation.

To exist is to be, to occur, to have life. And those are obviously essential. But they're also kind of passive. According to Wiktionary (which we all know is the highest form of truth), by adding "(a)-tion" to the end of "Exist", I was creating a noun that means "the action of existing". In other words (in my mind at least), I created a word that made existing active. 

And thus far, I feel as though I've done a pretty good job of making my existence more of an active one. I purposely seek out fun activities (most of the time I hone in on on them and share them with friends with an extreme amount of exuberance), and then I take pictures and write about them, which makes up most of the content on this blog. 

But in the past week or so, and especially after reading that Credo above, I realized that I have been reserving that "existation" for certain moments. I dive into fun times and soak them up like a joyful sponge, but the span of time between each activity consists largely of me being rather...a lump. I get some stuff done, especially editing photos and blog writing, but in the meantime our apartment remains largely unfurnished and undecorated, there are messes everywhere, I don't run errands, I don't take the time to plan meals and cook, and I often leave the dishes to pile up for a few days at a time. Most importantly, I don't pursue any of my long-term goals and dreams.  

What's the good of actively existing if I only do it for a quarter of my life?

Basically what I'm trying to say is this: starting today, yes, today, I Shall Use My Time. Not just some of my time, and not just during the most exciting moments, but all of my time. And yes, that includes down time (*cough*Hulu watching*cough), because relaxation and revitalization are necessary to making all of the big stuff happen, but it doesn't include wasting hours away in my pajamas with my eyes glazed over and glued to a screen.

Starting today, existation is going to become a part of my whole life. 

This is going to be harder said than done, and I'm going to allow myself some wiggle room and time to grow (Rome wasn't built in a day), but now that I've made my declaration, you can hold me accountable, and I'll be forced to hold myself accountable too. Deal? Deal. 

P.S. Right after I posted this, I saw that Elsie and Emma over at A Beautiful Mess wrote on their blog about time management. Perfect timing! Okay, I'm done writing about time.

Time time time time time.

Now I'm done.

Joy at Sunset in Dominical, Costa Rica
Joy at sunset in Dominical, Costa Rica
Happy weekend, friends.