worrying and 5 other things that are a complete waste of time

waste of timeDo you worry?

I wouldn’t be surprised if you answered “yes”. Let’s face it, at our age, there is an awful lot to worry about.

  • Will the kids make it out there on their own in the big, bad world?
  • Are they going to “downsize” me out of my job?
  • Will I have enough money to survive in retirement?
  • Health scares.

But, if you think about it, reacting to something that might or might not happen in the future is a complete waste of time. It takes a lot of time and energy to come up with all of those different scenarios; trying to solve a problem that hasn’t even presented itself yet. Or maybe never will.

  • What if little Johnny can’t find a job
  • What if I’m on the next round of lay offs
  • What if my government pension isn’t enough to live on.
  • What if the test comes back positive

I can think of a million other, much more productive, things to spend my time on.

Some would argue that feeling worried can be a good thing sometimes because it motivates you to be prepared. I disagree – that is what “concern” is for. Being concerned is productive because it is rational. Worry is the destructive form of “concern”. It is irrational. Worry is “concern” on sterioids.

The official definition of “worry” says it all:

worry: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts

That doesn’t sound very productive to me.

Worry can cause stress which can lead to sleep disruption, ulcers and high blood pressure. Excessive worrying can even cause someone to self medicate or paralyze them with fear making it difficult for them to function on a daily basis.

I have to confess that I very rarely worry. I’m not one of those annoying optimistic people but I’m a realist. If something is going to happen, I will deal with it when it happens. I will not waste my time worrying. Instead, I will use that valuable time to plan and prepare if I can or to tackle problems or obstacles that have already manifested and are real.

I have been faced with every one of the scenarios on the above list and spending time worrying would not have changed the outcome of any one of them:

  • My son did find a job (it was at the eleventh hour but he got one)
  • I was on the next round of lay offs but I had taken a few courses to prepare (because I was “concerned”) and I got another job before my notice even ended.
  • I know it’s not going to be enough so I joined the group RRSP savings plan at work. (plan and prepare)
  • The test came back negative (so glad that I didn’t shorten my life with worry over that one)

5 other things that are a complete waste of time

Flicking through the channels. Are you a “flicker”? If so, I can guarantee that nobody likes watching TV with you. I live with a “flicker” and I can’t remember the last time we actually watched a show from start to finish in one go. Even picking a show is a nightmare.

The premise of the whole show happens in the first 10 minutes and by the time he finally lands on something, we’ve missed the most important part. But it doesn’t matter because at the first commercial, he is off again! Looking to see what else might be out there. There is an hour of my life that I’ll never get back.

Pre-chopping celery and carrots. Maybe it’s just in my house but I finally had to face the facts. If no one wants celery and carrots enough to actually wash and cut them, no one is going to bother eating them even after I’ve spent the time to wash and cut them and put them in a sealed plastic container in the fridge. If only I had a dollar for every container full of liquefied celery and carrots I’ve thrown out.

Driving around looking for a better parking spot. Just park already! For all the time that you spent driving around, you could have parked and enjoyed some of the benefits of the exercise while walking the extra block to where you wanted to go.

Arguing with someone who will never lose. We all have at least one of these people in our lives. The one that will never concede defeat in an argument, no matter how asinine their position is. I don’t waste my time anymore. So much effort to get absolutely nowhere.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you be a push over on the important arguments or that you never express your opinion but pick your battles. Fight hard for the important ones and let the useless ones slide in favour of something more constructive to spend your time on.

Amusement park lines. We went to Universal Studios years ago. We arrived at opening time and by the time we finished waiting an hour and a half to get on the “Back to the Future” ride, the wait time for the “ET” ride was up to two and a half hours. A whole day and we got on 4 rides. You can tell by the ride names that this example is from about 20 years ago. I can’t imagine how many people are there every day now.

You’ve seen the lovely commercials. Come to Marineland and pet the Beluga whales! Oh my goodness, that looks like fun! I took my kids there when they were young and we couldn’t get within 50 feet of the Beluga whale exhibit. We didn’t even see them, much less touch them.

If you don’t get to Canada’s Wonderland before 10:00 AM, you will be in line for a minimum of 45 minutes to get on any of the big roller coasters. Note the word “minimum”!

I won’t go to amusement parks anymore (thank goodness my kids are grown and I don’t see any reason that I have to anymore). There are just too many bloody people in the world now and, as much as I like to meet new people, I do not choose to meet them while standing in line.

Do you know of something that is a complete waste of time? If so, let me know and I will add it to the list.

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Image courtesy of twobee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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