What the heck is quality time?

I have been thinking about this alot lately.   This whole concept of quality time.   You hear people talking about wanting to spend quality time with the kids, their spouse, their parents.   People near and dear to our heart + time = quality time.

When does quality time happen?   Is quality time a certain hour on the clock?    Does it only occur on even days?   Maybe quality time only occurs on the Sabbath.   Maybe quality time only happens when you are good or do good.    Possibly it only happens when you are in the company of loved ones.   May be you can only experience quality time if you are right with  your spiritual higher being, God.

I think that the concept of quality time is an euphemism for not wasting your time on this earth.   Time is neither good nor bad.   It has no value of quality.   What we do with our time is what makes a difference.

Much of our time is taken up with things that are part of your survival.   You sleep away about 20% of your life.  Maybe you sleep a little more or a little less, but sleep is nonnegotiable. You spend about 40 or so hours a week at work so you can have the basic necessities of  shelter and food. If you are lucky your job is not too much of a drag, and you don’t spend your hours at work in misery.  Most of us enjoy some portion of our work day, and other parts just drag on.    Our ancestors spent part of their days as hunter gathers and that was their job.   Our jobs may not seem so directly related to life’s necessities, but it in may ways is not so different than our ancestors, we seek to have food in our belly and not be out in the elements.    Jobs make that possible.

Once you take out the hours you sleep and work, you are left with discretionary time.   Just like any money you have left over after your bills are paid, you get to choose how you will spend it.    This is the time people often call  quality time.   It is not of any more quality than the hours we have spent at work and sleeping.   Often we waste our  quality time.  We choose to fritter the quality time away like we do that the pocket change and small bills in our wallet or purse.     We wasted minutes that turn into hours, the same way spend a dollar here and there that turns into $50 or $100 .     We choose to use that quality time in ways that don’t bring any enjoyment or make a difference.     It isn’t quality at all.      We need to decide that  we will  enjoy our free time in the company of others, doing things that we have always wanted to do, spending it alone in  reflection or making the difference we want to do so.  We need to resolve to  use our free time to improve the quality of our life.

Us Vs. Them

WA_EverWastedThis last week I read  an article about folks who where make it an issue with neighbors who plant gardens in their front yard.   I looked at the pictures and said yes it surely would not meet my definition of a neat and tidy lawn.   I would not be thrilled with a neighbor with a lawn like that next to me initially, but a well kept garden is just as deserving as some green grass mono-culture that sucks water like there is no shortage of clean fresh water.

I shared it with a friend at work and we talked about we have become a society intolerant of others who don’t meet our personal belief system.  I am not sure if this is true or we have such a loud group of folks who are ready to share their intolerant attitude of others who they see as “wrong.”  I think it is lots of big talk and very little respect for others.

I think this verbal intolerance  started with our politics.   I’ve been reading lots of people complaining about the president and the government.   I get it.  I am not happy either with the state of affairs in our country either.  In many ways for me it is quite disturbing because I feel we, the grassroots people, have allowed the corrupt political system to make so many of us think “us vs. them.”  Either you are like me or you are an idiot.   What is even worse, is that all most people are willing to do is talk about it. Talking is never going to change anything, look at what is happening in Washington DC and you will see what I mean.   Lots of with” us or against us” thinkers.  Lots of verbal bashing, that makes us even less likely to see the value in others who don’t think or live like we do.

I am old enough to remember a lot of presidents, some I considered complete idiots;  their names are not important here.  Just because I thought the public representative was an idiot, did not mean that my neighbors, friends and  co-workers who supported them were idiots.   It meant their life journey had given them a different perspective than me.   Maybe I agreed with the end desired result or maybe not, but it did not make them or their point of view any less valuable than mine.   Sometimes I could listen and see how they looked at things that way and other times no matter what they said I didn’t get it.  No matter what, many of them I had choose for friends and the fact that we would not agree on everything was not a reason to throw them away.   I would not demean their opinion if they loved orange and I hated it, or hated cats and I loved them.  How can we have friends if we don’t respect their opinion?  We don’t have to agree with it.    When we say others who hold the same opinion as our friend are stupid, by any reasonable thinking we have just said the same of our friends.  Name calling is easy.  Stepping back and saying honestly don’t get it, but chose you for a friend so are going to respectfully disagree.   It doesn’t mean I am not going to share my on thoughts on things  or ask you about yours.   What it does mean is that I am not going to devalue yours, and I ask that you not devalue mine.

I feel we have allowed this easy verbal bashing of others in politics  has carried over to intolerance in so many other things.   Some people feel quite passionate about like their religion, others seem quite nitpicky like the fight over gardens in the front yard.  We tend to classify large groups of people together as we see them and give them our names.   We call them Evangelical Christians, greenies, NRA’ers, commies, tree-huggers, Republic, Democrat, Tea-party, transplanted Californians…and the list goes on.  I am sure we have all done it unfortunately.   This generalized naming has done more to separate us than join us.  We are better than that.

I am not Pollyanna and thinking the we are all going to ever agree, nor should we.  It is only with disagreement that change can come.      Nor am I saying I am ever going to understand why some folks think the way they do.   What I am saying is others may be pulled in to this demeaning name calling of those who they don’t understand, but I don’t want to be part of it.  I don’t want to be the only woman in a group of men and be declared the one logical woman and rest are emotional idiots.    I don’t want to be your one friend isn’t the same religion as you.  I don’t expect you to embrace what I think, but when you call others who think the same way as I do unAmerican, idiots, hell bound, pick your word , I have to wonder what you really think of me.