I waste time. I wonder if you waste time too. It’s hard to admit that aloud. My cheeks are flush writing it down. It feels like an incredibly privileged thing to even be able to do. It is. 

Where does it all go? I wonder at the end of the day when I’m still overwhelmed with a to-do list that’s mounting. 

Well, let me count the ways. 

I waste it in mindless scrolling on the internet.

I waste it in sifting through social media posts of friends and strangers’ lives that have no impact on my own. 

I waste it on the days when I need to be most productive doing things that feel productive tangentially – like washing the floor – and add zero value to the task at hand.

I comfort myself with the fact that sometimes, I waste it intelligently. 

Yes, there is a spectrum. On one side there’s mindless scrolling  and on the other is consuming great books – and a museum of shiny red balls fills everything in between. 

No matter if I waste it wisely or foolishly, I waste it all the same. It’s just a better sounding story, in my endless justification game.  

I waste time nonsensically, gluttonously, and lavishly. 

I am not proud of it. I can’t seem to stop. 

I wallow in the pit of self loathing, frustrated by my lack of self discipline. Beating myself up is counterproductive. I need to take action. 

In an attempt to visualize my procrastination, I make a wall calendar to track my day, hour by hour from 6am to midnight. 

It stands empty, half forgotten, and I feel even more defeated by the things I’m too terrified to create, to write, to become. What if I go back to where I’m from? 

Finally, I admit it. Scribbled in a journal, a confession from the subconscious to conscious mind comes alive: I waste time. In black and white. I feel the waves of shame and wait. Observing. Listening.

“It’s a problem.”  “It’s a rebellion.” 

Two voices on two shoulders from two versions of myself. 

But, from what? 

Perhaps it’s the result of feeling like time ran me for much of my life.  In the background, a small violin plays the anthem for overachievers. 

Since childhood I was a manipulator of time. I bent it to my needs, until the tables switched and it took hold of me. 

When I was working as a media executive, every hour of my day – including weekends – was neatly planned into an outlook calendar. 

Time was my tyrant squeezing me to perform, pressuring me to achieve. I once fit years into months, and weeks into days thrusting myself ahead, avoiding delays. 

The way I used time exhausted me. So I stopped believing I had to obey it at all. 

For years, the tension between giving up my time and giving up on time festered.

Until recently the ache became too great. Something’s gotta give. I have books to write, shows to create, life to be lived on a bigger scale. I cannot run from it any longer: my relationship with time needs to be healed.  

At long last, I asked for help last week. I will not Sherlock this riddle on my own anymore. It is a stubborn insanity to claim otherwise. 

“ Why do I waste time?” I ask my Bon Tibetan teacher and therapist. He wrote back something that shook me awake. 

“ You waste time because you don’t realize you are time. Would you waste yourself?” 

I repeat this thrice aloud, whispering through my lips. 

I am time. Would I waste myself? 

I am time. Would I waste myself? 

I am time. Would I waste myself? 

No, I will not waste myself.

When I disrespect time, I disrespect myself. 

Time is my teacher. And I’m here to learn.