Why waste life?

Dear Pogue,

How are you doing? I appreciate how stressful this time is for you but you and all other doctors are really appreciated by the country. You realise you’re all fast gaining superhero status and will be seen with new eyes for a long time after this is over? Me, I’m just locked away at home following the lockdown rules. But I’ve got to thinking…

There’s been a lot of conversation going on in these strange times. TV current affairs, emails, texts group chats, on the phone. For the most part, people are not exactly missing out on social. But this has brought something home to me as I’ve observed the world. I am seeing people expend an inordinate amount of energy, time, life, focusing on things they cannot affect. They are wasting time they will never get back and using energy that will be lost because where you put your attention, there your energy goes.

The Matrix was a documentary

Keanu Reeves

So life, real get down and get dirty life, is passing them by while they immerse themselves in an illusion of living. You remember the Matrix, our man Keanu Reeves, and how he discovers that people are living out time in a computer generated mind controlling programme? That living has been replaced by existing? Well hold that thought. This isn’t as dark as that but people are so focused on events, events they cannot affect. They just want to be commentators on life, on everything with no intention of involvement. I’d like to say that it’s the new sport but it’s been going on forever and really I’ve just noticed it.

I think where I’m going is that it is much better that we focus on the things that it is in our purview to effect and that we desire to change. That should be where we place our energy. The things that touch us, that we come into contact with, the places we are willing to get our hands dirt. And the things we have no power to change, no desire to change, we accept those as they “just are”. Don’t fret on them. Don’t dwell on them and create unnecessary worry. Really don’t even give them time but rather give attention to those things you can touch and maybe improve. As you move through your day make judgement calls. Is there purpose in me giving time here? What will I achieve? Do I even want to get involved with this? When I’m done will I walk away leaving it just as it ever was and will I ever get back the time I spent?

Maybe I need to understand my capacity so that I can live in that place where I most effectively spend the currency that is my life.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticisms and misguided opinions, walking away is the best way to stand up for yourself. To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude.


So many questions.

Do I think I can help that person? Can I improve that thing? Can I carry the discussion, the chain of thought, forward? Is my effort, my contribution being meaningfully spent?

Of course there is a flip side to all of this. A place where we can make no difference but we can allow it to make us different. Does my involvement here, with her, with them, in this situation bring something to me? I am thinking of scenery that pleases, even stuns and brings pleasure, or music that moves me. I add nothing to it, rather it adds to me and here I would encourage investment of time and energy to become the recipient of something empowering and satisfying whilst not desiring or being able to bring change. In fact, often it is just about receiving.

However, if I was to examine myself I would have to suggest that we are not all that good at receiving and taking the benefits. There’s power in just being. I suspect that the Universe would give us so much if we would only take the time to receive. You might be destined to great things but today the Universe will have you focus on the things you can currently achieve and put your efforts there. Leave the rest.

If you can’t do anything about it then let it go. Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.

Tony Gaskins

Learn to focus your energy and bring about the changes you can however small. Today you’re not a Ghandi or a Mandela but remember the majority of the world only knows of them at their zenith, the moment when they could touch millions. However a reading of their histories will reveal times when their sphere of influence was small and it was there that they spent their energy.

So for me the internal dialogue is: “Can I alter or affect this thing. Indeed, do I even want to?” If the answer is no I will move on. Why waste my time, my life on something that adds to nothing?

Sound harsh?

How about if I applied the same criteria to people. I heard a man once say: “If I can bring you no blessing and you’re not blessing me then we both need to move on”. I like that. It saves everyone time, effort and emotion. You know, peopling can be dreadfully overrated if done purely to fill a gap.

Basically, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into being a critical observer or detached commentator on life. Assess your ability, your desire and commit your energy or walk away. Don’t expend energy to achieve nothing.

Yours, conserving energy,


3 thoughts on “Why waste life?

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