I'm not entirely certain whether it was Hootie or the Blowfish who said it, but the lyric goes, "time, why you punish me?" One of the only things in this world that you cannot purchase is time. Even with all of the technological innovations of the past decades that were designed to give us more time, we continue to struggle to do everything that we want. So what you decide to do with your precious hours are critical.
Take, for example, Paul M.L. Janssen. A professor at THE Ohio State University, he spend vast commodities of his time constructing a Lego replica of "The Horseshoe" (Ohio Stadium, where the Buckeyes play). The street value of the Legos is around $75,000, although he was able to secure the majority of those at a discounted price. But I'm less amazed at the financial cost, and more at the man hours: after spending three years acquiring the necessary bricks, it took Janssen two years to construct it.
Two years. Playing with Legos.
True, Janssen also had a life outside of that, working his day job at the University. And I'm hoping he took some time off to play with his three kids (there's no way he let them anywhere near the project, right?). But still, two years devoted to anything like that is amazing. What else could he have done in those two years of free time?
Learn another language? Teach his kids some discernable skill? Exercise? Make lists of things he could do if he had two years of free time?
Far be it from me to criticize someone else for how they spend their time; I too waste too much time with trivial matters. But maybe I can let someone else criticize the lot of us.
My friend Sara has spent the better part of her twenties living in our Walnut Hills neighborhood, working as a "house mom" to some under-privilidged kids. Her sacrificial spirit is absolutely amazing; she has bent over backwards trying to give her girls a better life. Very few people would choose to adopt her lifestyle. But, sadly, she's quitting this job so she can go do something else.
Two years. Serving in the Peace Corps.
For the next two years, she'll work in an extremely impoverished nation helping the locals better their lives. She'll live in want to support those who have nothing. She'll abandon the comforts of home, leaving family and friends behind, in the name of service. I sure wish I could be like her when I grow up.
It makes me realize that I need to continually reevaluate how I'm managing my life. Am I making the most of my time, not just for me, but for the benefit of those around me?
The year is still new. What are you willing to sacrifice, freeing up your time, so that you can make this world a better place.