Olivia Newport fountain splash

Photo by Lorri Nussbaum

“That’s two minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

Ten seconds, two minutes, an hour, a day. We’ve all had the experience of feeling like 1) we wasted our time through our own fault or 2) we let someone else waste our time.

I had my teeth cleaned the other day, and the hygienist said something about how she doesn’t understand what people find so interesting about Facebook. She scrolls through about eight entries, and if yours is not one of those eight, she won’t see it. Yet she has friends who spend hours every day on Facebook.

Now I enjoy Facebook as much as the next person, and I look at a lot more than eight posts every day. I like to get on and cyber-wave at my cyber-friends (and readers). At the same time, though, I’ve lost count of how many times, after clicking through multiple links, I think something like, “That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back,” because I don’t necessarily feel satisfied.

The real question is, What am I thirsting for? Maybe I just need a break from writing, so popping over to Facebook for ten minutes is reasonable and regret-free. But if I’m checking Facebook because I’m afraid I’ll miss something momentous, or I’m questing after the meaning of life, that’s another matter.

Because let’s face it. I won’t find it on Facebook.

So then my mind wanders to other ways I spend my time and what I’m seeking with my choices. Have I forgotten to look at the sunset? Do I take time to cut flowers in the yard and bring them into the house to enjoy? Have I played Yahtzee with my son lately and laughed at our gags that have been running for about 20 years? Have I sent a note to that friend who crossed my mind seven times today? What about lying in my hammock and watching the colors swirling behind my closed eyelids as the sun beams down on my face? What about making a nutritious meal instead of muttering that I don’t have time to cook?

I work a lot. I won’t try to convince you otherwise. Writers do that, especially if we have day jobs.

But life’s too short to wake up one morning and feel like I missed the last ten years. The last thing I want to say is, “That’s a decade of my life I’ll never get back.”

I want the moments. All of them. Sorrow and joy, tears and laughter, work and play, disappointment and anticipation, simplicity and complexity.

We all make mistakes, and in that sense we all have regrets—though often even the mistakes add to the tapestries of our lives. But I challenge myself, and I challenge you, to chase what brings meaning and satisfaction into life and be grateful for how we spend our minutes.