At The End Of The Day
“At the end of the day” is a phrase that, in current parlance, refers to what is left after everything that really does not matter is removed from consideration. The phrase is overused, but there is still some untapped wisdom to be found here if you apply the logic contained in this phrase to your life. In other words, ask yourself, what is left of your life after you remove everything that really does not matter?
Not to oversimplify, but it could be said that what you do with your life is defined by how you spend your time. Consider the phrase, “spend your time”. It is one that we thoughtlessly toss around so much that we rarely stop and think about how meaningful it really is. The word “spend” is of particular importance here. We can bring it into sharper focus if we change the word “time” to “money”. It then becomes “spend your money”, a phrase we all understand.
We are always aware of roughly how much money we have, and we adjust our activities to match our resources. We are careful what we do with our money because we know it is in limited supply and we don’t want to waste it or do something stupid with it. We fuss and fidget and plan how we are going to spend our money. Before we spend money, we usually pause and ask ourselves, “Do I really want to spend my money on this?” After we spend our money, we want to “have something to show for it”.
Should we treat the gift of time any differently?
We tend to be more thoughtless and careless about how we “spend” time. This is a strange phenomenon because time is really the most precious commodity. It is possible to make or borrow more money once you have spent what you have, but there is no way to make or borrow more time. To make matters worse, there is no way to know how much time is left in your “account”.
Once we have “spent” our time it is gone forever. While we give careful consideration to how we spend our money, we waste away the seconds of our life engaged in mindless activities, pursuing meaningless goals, worrying about things we cannot change, and being angry about things that are unimportant.
Photographer Robert Polidori once said, “A good picture asks certain questions and answers only some”. In “At The End Of The Day” I explored some questions about being more mindful of how I spend my time.
I realize that we are powerless to be conscious of every second of every day. We would drive ourselves crazy if we tried to squeeze every drop of potential out of every second, or if with every tick of the clock we panicked because another second had passed from our lives. What we can do, I think, is stop every now and then to remind ourselves of the wonderful gift of time that we have been given and to make sure we are spending it wisely.
I have learned that the best way to stay on course while navigating unfamiliar terrain is to stop occasionally and determine exactly where I am in relation to where I want to be. If I find I have wandered off course, I forgive myself for being fallible, and realign my course with my intended goal. I try to apply this principle to my life, as well. It is helpful for me to frequently take a look at my life and determine where I am in relation to where I want to be. For me, it is fitting to do this “At the End Of The Day”.
Image and Text © Jim Golaszewski 2019
“It gets late early out here”