Have I wasted the last five years?Posted: May 1, 2012
Photo Via Shan Sheehan
As many of you have heard, I have recently divorced my wife due to the excessive hair growth situated on her nose and chin. For further information surrounding this topic, please visit “why i divorced my wife”.
Since then, I have left my home to wander the world on my own and have commenced a period of intense reflection. Being on your own makes you feel isolated. However, it is only when you are on your own you realize that your old life was the real isolation. Your daily monotonous movement, as you wake up in your box of a house, to eat cereal from a box, to travel to work in a box, to sit in a box of a shitty building to come back to the original box merely to lie in a box to wake up to repeat the process until you disintegrate into your permanent box (coffin). The comfortable notion of “home” and “work” allowing you to remain confortably in your self made larger box in sweet ignorance that you are the center of your larger box and everything outside your box doesn’t exist.
Anyways, during this period of intense reflection, a question arose. Have I wasted the last five years being married to this insane lady?
The concept of “waste” used in phrases such as “i wasted my time in university”, “i wasted my youth” and ” i wasted my education” are commonplace in both mine and your vocabulary.
When reflecting on your life, it may be, as in my case, you ponder over whether you wasted five years with a partner. Others may be concerned that they wasted time studying for a degree they didn’t care for or didn’t achieve. The simpleton amongst us may be concerned that he wasted time playing pro-evo when he could have crossed his fingers, waved his hands up and down and pushed over his mates at a club to “POW-lethal B”.
Whether it be education, relationships, health or wealth, it is really “time” that you have “wasted”. Time that you will never have again. For with an infinite notion of time, time spent within a crap relationship could not have been “wasted”. Without the issue of having only forty-fifty years in this world, the crap relationship would have been seen at the very least as a positive learning experience. The phrase “life is too short” is of relevance here.
The issue is therefore that the fifty years we have in this world are precious, and should not be “wasted”. The question that remains, therefore, is what is the definition of “waste of time”?
A “waste of time” is a period of time which has deviated you from your goals, whether it be short-term or long-term. Therefore, to answer the question “have i wasted the last five years being married to this lady,” I have to answer “Has the last five years deviated me from my long term goals?” What, therefore are my long term goals? Is it to live peacefully with my wife through old age and see my grand-children before I die? Yes, of course that is the goal. But if that is the goal, how did it become the goal, as I don’t remember having any thoughts or discussion about this being my long term goal, and surely I should contemplate what my goals are before criticising myself for having experiences which deviate from these goals.
And why is it that I have the same goal as most of the people around me, even though none of us have thought about it. Is this a magical phenomenon, or is it based on the end of those Disney films I watched years ago, where every-one lives happily ever after. Thoughts of playing with grandchildren and retirement seem, almost instinctively, to be associated with thoughts of happiness and peace, yet it is rare to question why.
Therefore, has the last five years with my wife been a waste? Yes, it has deviated me from my long term goal of playing with my grandchildren. But will playing with my grandchildren in fifty years provide me with so much happiness that I should disregard the last five years as a “waste?”. There is no evidence that it will, nor that I will live long enough to achieve that goal. Years ago, did I waste so many years at University, as it didn’t end up aiding me in my career? Yes, it deviated me from my long term goal of achieving a certain amount of wealth/respect by a certain age. Was I any happier when I achieved the wealth and respect, albeit a bit later? No. Did I think I would be? Yes.
The concept of waste would not be present if there was an infinite amount of time. We are assuming we have forty years. What if you were to die tomorrow, and subsequently your long term goals ceased to exist? Would your last five years have been a waste?
Our consistent focus on the future and our association with happiness once we achieve a goal of wealth/power/relationship status is what disintegrates any experiences which deviates away from this goal as “waste” and any time spent achieving this goal as merely passive moments. When working towards these goals, it is often that people are willing to sacrifice their current happiness in order to achieve happiness associated with the completion of the goal. A simple example would be revising for exams.
There is, however, absolutely no certainty of long term happiness when you achieve your long term goal. Have you ever achieved anything and felt completely self-fulfilled?
Assuming, therefore, that there is no certainty of long term happiness when you achieve your long term goal, does it make logical sense to sacrifice happiness in the short term to achieve long term goals, when you may not even live to achieve it? More importantly, can any life experience really be considered to be a waste of time, when the experience is merely slowing you down from achieving a goal which won’t bring you long term happiness anyway?