“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.” -Unknown
The other morning I hopped out of bed and made a beeline for the laundry room. Although it contains numerous washers and dryers, unlike the room at my old apartment complex, far more people use it.
This means I might as well camp out in from of the building a la Black Friday if I hope to get my clothes in at some point in the AM. That morning, as luck would have it, two of the washers were still empty three seconds after the door opened.
Since I work from home, I try to be army-style efficient when doing household chores, so I generally know the precise moment when I’ll need to switch my loads into the dryer.
That morning I somehow arrived back at the room with seven minutes to spare. I considered returning to my apartment to squeeze in a few emails; after all, I had a ton to do. Then I realized how absurd that was. It was only seven minutes. Was it really that big a deal to simply wait it out?
Out the window, I noticed a swing set without any children enjoying it, and I realized that while I was worried about wasting time, I was wasting an opportunity for fun.
So I swung. And then I started humming. And then I started singing softly. And then I got a little louder. Then someone walked out of the laundry room, huffing because all the machines were full, until he saw me, a bizarre looking adult singing and swinging alone.
His laughter in that moment reminded me: there is no better use of time than the choice to smile and share it.
I realize we can’t always play with the world, with all the abandon of children. But what if we thought of unexpected breaks less as time to kill and more as time to enjoy?
What if we didn’t think about what we could squeeze in and instead allowed ourselves to forget for a minute that there’s so much to do?
What if we took the opportunity to lose ourselves, even if just for a few minutes, without pressure, stress, or an overwhelming sense that there’s something else we should accomplish?
There will always be more to do. But sometimes the best use of time is choosing to forget about that.
Photo by wonderlane