Investing Time

It’s Thursday and as of right now, I have 3 days off work after working every day for 3 weeks. I’m tired, more than slightly burned out and currently watching Clash videos while drinking bourbon.

A few minutes ago, Randy and I were in the kitchen. He was getting a beer and I played fetch with Gertie. She isn’t a puppy, but don’t tell her that. God forbid we ever lose the little green mouse. Gertie the kittyNothing else will do.

Anyway, while we were playing fetch, I spied two fortune cookies in their wrapper on the floor in the corner of the kitchen. I suspect that was Alfie the kitty’s doing. He doesn’t abide having anything on the table.

So, we ate them.

I don’t remember my fortune, but I remember Randy’s: Don’t spend time, invest it.

Oh my god, fortune cookie. Fuck you. Fuck you right in the face.

Do you know how much time I haven’t been “investing”? By now, I could count in years the amount of time I’ve been lost in daydreams where everything is okay. I have spent months and months watching and re-watching the same shows. I have spent days recounting and restructuring long ago arguments in my head. And we won’t even count the time spent playing Words With Friends.

Here’s the thing, none of us get to invest time. No one. We all spend time.

Seconds tick away at the same rate for all of us, regardless if we are curing cancer or eating raw cookie dough out of the fridge. We can’t bank those seconds, we can’t grow those seconds. They pass the same for the good, the evil, the broken, and the strong.

We can certainly work at improving ourselves and we should.

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with “spending” time rather than “investing” time.

How often do we hear about “self-care” and “me time”? Is indulging in a two hour bath with a trashy novel and left over Halloween candy “spending” time or “investing” time? I guess an argument could be made either way, but why?

Why do we pressure ourselves with this shit? Or is it just me?

Please tell me I’m not the only one who might possibly have let a goddamn fortune cookie get under their skin.

I don’t think I’m really all that annoyed with the fortune cookie. I’m antsy because life is weird now. My schadenfreude has been all itchy ever since the first indictments went down and now I’m a junkie for indictments.

I am watching artists who I have enjoyed exposed for the monsters that they are. I have participated in a conversation where someone took Kevin Spacey’s side and very nearly but not quite blamed his 14 year old victim. What the actual fuck?

I am afraid every day that our democracy will not recover and wonder what the end part of my life will be like, and what my children and grandchildren will have to live through.

So, instead of dealing with all that, I got mad at a fortune cookie.

We’re all spending time, because as long as we are drawing breath, that is our only option.

It’s okay to not always be improving or creating or helping. We’re not robots. Time will be spent no matter what we choose.

Time already spent no longer matters. Spent time is not even real anymore, only memories.

How we spend our remaining time matters, but for all that is fucking holy, it’s okay to have downtime. All we need. No matter what the stupid fortune cookie says.




Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. Melinda says:

    Yep. Sometimes we all need to just lighten the fuck up.

  2. FridayV says:

    I blame the puritans for our American obsession with productivity and improvement. There is no reason (on god’s green earth or Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs) not to navel gaze or binge watch or stare at ocean/mountains/desert all day if you keep your basic needs met. Some of us will be sloths and some of us will be cheetahs. It’s all good.

  3. Donna says:

    You are NOT the only one who lets goddamn fortune cookies get under their skin. Rilly.

    Down time is NOT wasted time (OK, mebbe sometimes but that’s still needed!).

    I got a cookie once, back in my wild days, that said something along the lines of “you fuck around too much and should get checked for VD.” Honest and true! I suspected the fortune writers had been spying on me or listening to my mother or something vile like that.

  4. Shari E says:

    Downtime is critical! I agree.

  5. Emily says:

    I have that same internal critic. I did learn some years ago, though, when I was stuck in bed with a blow-up of a chronic illness that the phrase, “life is a gift” is literal. What’s the point of a gift if you don’t enjoy it? It’s not an assignment, it’s a present. It’s hard to keep that in mind as life makes demands. Boy, do I know that. There was a medieval (I think) monk whose name my elderly brain can’t locate at the moment, but he said something like that when he was washing dishes, he offered the activity up to God. This meant to me that he found pleasures in his work, like, I suppose, the feel of the water, the curve of cup, small things. Requires concentration though.

    I loved your post on shooting a gun!

  6. Connie says:

    Sooo agree with you. If I need down time it’s for my own sanity and I have nothing to apologize for. We stress to our kids and grand kids in schools these days too much about using time efficiently What are use to tell my students who stressed out was find a place you can call your own. Somewhere you can go and have some quiet time to yourself. Some of the kids had never heard of that before.
    Society these days is all about pressure, productivity, and profit. We speak far little about the benefits of reflection, and yes, sometimes even mindless distraction to safeguard our sanity.

  7. Cathy says:

    Yes, yes and yes. Fortune Cookie be damned. I’m guessing yours said,”girl with foul tongue, is happier than girl with no tongue.” I just made that up. But… preach, sister!

  8. Haralee says:

    I get it. I have to step away from reading or watching or listening to the news sometimes. Horoscopes irritate me that I never read them. Fortune cookies should be true to their name.

  9. I got upset with myself recently for not doing the writing I had planned to do on the novel for a couple of days. I couldn’t move the storyline and so I was working on a doodle page, which, because I make them artful, are exactly what I need to settle enough to work through a story line. It seemed wasteful before I remembered how productive it was.

    You are never doing nothing.

    Tell that to memes, fortune cookies and anyone else who peddles that crap because it’s true. You are never doing nothing.

  10. Catsmeow says:

    Itchy schadenfreude— priceless!

  11. Jessie says:

    I would have had a brief moment of complete annoyance at the fortune cookie, then in an ideal world, mentally replied to the writer of the fortune cookie (in full agreement with Haralee on fortune cookies being fortune cookies): “I see you are investing time writing fortune cookies. I do not judge you for that. All I ask is that you stick to making up fortunes and quit telling me how to live my life.”

    I’m practicing boundaries. Inanimate objects and unknown, untraceable people sending out mass messages in little cookie bottles seem like a good place to start. I’m not very good at it yet.

    Actually I probably would have accepted it as a valid message from God or somebody. But that’s my own personal bad, and it’s because I need a shit-ton of therapy to get some reasonable perspective. Or an excellent funny blog post. (Ka-ching!)

    Time has been around for 15 billion years. And I’m truly not convinced it cares what we do with it, so we might as well enjoy it.

  12. Shani says:

    I do think that time can be “wasted”-for example if all you do is sit around and watch reality tv all day I think that is a waste of time. But I also think who am I to judge? It doesn’t stop me from judging because I can be bitchy but at in the end of the day who died and made me Queen?
    Because at the end of the day who knows what shit someone went through. If sitting at home watching reality tv all day makes someone feel better about their own reality, who am I to judge?
    Unless you only watch Faux News. I’m judging the fuck out of you for that. Because then you’re part of the problem.

  13. Mary-Anne says:

    I remember a wise teacher once told me
    “No-one has time”

    “We have to TAKE time”.

    words to live by.

  14. Cindy H says:

    Hoo boy.
    Great post!
    3 things:
    1. I don’t THINK anyone wrote this on your thread yet. The quote “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” (Author not confirmed)

    2. I am a list writer. I almost put “Make a list” as one of my chores, so I can cross it off. It used to be SO difficult (with huge guilt) to end the day without having completed the entire list. As I get older, I realize how ridiculous that is. I don’t have to ‘do it all’ to have a successful day. Sometimes I even finish 2 or 3 listed chores and then read a chapter out of my book and then do it again! At night, I’ll watch a taped comedy such as ‘Will & Grace’ and every time there is a commercial, I’ll do a quick chore and then get back to the show. It makes life so much more fun.

    3. Life as we know it is so fragile now. I try hard to be appreciative of every living moment…by myself or with family and/or friends.

    Please keep writing and tweeting/retweeting, Michelle. You are so appreciated.

  15. Doug in Oakland says:

    I get the Spacey thing. That’s why I’ve never wanted to meet any of my heroes.
    OK, now some (hopefully) amusing things germane to the topic:

    “I must admit I was a bit in the red
    But if you never have pleasure then you could be dead”
    -Pete Townshend, “Keep on Working”

    “Time, time and attention
    Time, time and again
    I find my noble intentions
    Have cheated me again”
    -Me, “Possum”

    And here’s a comic by B. Kliban that I immediately thought of while reading your post and dug up for you:

    I have been guilty of justifying a decision with the “I don’t want to look back on my life as I’m dying and regret [insert item to be justified here]” trope, but yesterday Briana and I got over that by asking what was so special about that last moment? Why does it get more weight than all of the other moments? Because it’s the last one? Shouldn’t that actually give it less weight because I’ll never have to think about it or live with its consequences?
    The attempt to add a life up like it was a column of numbers and arrive at a sum just dousn’t work. And don’t even get me started about division or multiplication…

  16. emelle says:

    “Spent time is not even real anymore, only memories.” — I think, maybe, that the MEMORIES tell you whether you “spent” the time or “invested” it? Like, so many older, wiser folks like to remind young, impetuous people that it’s better to spend money on experiences rather than things?

    My hubby and I went to Stan Lee’s Los Angeles ComiCon last weekend. Because I had never been to ANY con before, and we both knew that we’d both enjoy it, and while we wouldn’t necessarily have any souvenirs from it, we’d have the memories (and all of the pics I took got posted in a blog anyway, so memories to the 3rd power, maybe?)…

    I realize I’m not so much making actual statements, but I think your fortune cookie fortune wasn’t too far off track, other than not really being a fortune. Because if you DO invest your time in making memories, you won’t be quite so distracted by all the horribleness we’re inundated with these days. I’d much rather think back fondly on last weekend at the Con than think about the heartache of the Spacey news, etc. All of the accusations/indictments/realities of the world we currently inhabit are just too much.

    And today, we’ll be going to see Thor:Ragnarok in a theater, just because. Is that time spent or invested? 😉

    • Michelle says:

      I have been to two comic cons and I LOVED IT! They are so fun.

      Hmmm…In answer to your there popcorn involved? I think you have to gorge on popcorn before it’s invested time. At least that is true according to the rule I just made up.

    • Jessie says:

      I vote for “invested.” You’re investing in your own pleasure. And in the memories. And the togetherness. If you were me and had ADD-H and agoraphobia, you’d also be investing in a therapeutic experience — for the ADD, I find an exciting movie watched in the full immersion of a theater to be reliably a total game-changer for my mood, which normally sucks because not having enough dopamine feels that way. And obviously going to a movie is therapeutic for my agoraphobia, as it proves that getting the hell out of my apartment is not usually the panic-attack-in-waiting I fear it always will be.
      Now, the only question is, will your investment pay off, i.e. will you enjoy the movie? I haven’t read any reviews of “Thor: Ragnarok,” though I found the first two “Thor” movies to be excellent investments in my own mental health.
      Correction: I just un-lazied myself enough to Google “reviews of Thor Ragnarok,” and all at-a-glance signs indicate “Go”: 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and a meta-score of 73 on Metacritic. So, probable excellent investment.
      Enjoy yourself!

  17. I just Googled schadenfreude – I consider that an investment. Take that cookie!

  18. We all need to take a step back, take a deep breath and enjoy the life we have

  19. Totally true about getting “indictment crazy.” Did you ever think that would be part of your vocabulary? There’s nothing to do, but enjoy as much of each day as possible. I see you wrote this on Thursday, so by now you know about the latest mass shooting. Its all crazy-making. Can’t take it anymore.

  20. mydangblog says:

    If you get “the time” (haha), read George Orwell’s essay “Some Thoughts on the Common Toad”. I think you’ll not only enjoy his take on this, but it’s pretty prophetic at the end. Most people only know him for his novels, but his essays are very different–very conversational and engaging, and often quite humorous!

  21. Several years ago I heard a food writer talk about how she took fortune cookies to a small village in China and people bit into them and said, “What the fuck is this paper inside a cookie? Americans are so fucking weird.”
    I’m paraphrasing and they probably weren’t that rude, but it sounds funnier that way.
    I’m also trying to find some way to connect that to your experience. Why should we assume the fortune cookie knows what it’s talking about? It hasn’t given me the right lottery numbers yet. And when I ask, is the fortune cookie right? the answer I get is, “ASK AGAIN LATER”.
    Yes, I trust the magic 8-ball.