Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Obviously, some things are more worthwhile to do than others: volunteering at an orphanage or writing great works of literature has to be a better use of one’s time than sitting on a couch reading fiction, but it’s all the stuff in the middle that’s hard to quantify.

Like, for instance, which is superior? Going to the dentist to get one’s teeth cleaned? Or picking up the dog poop in your backyard? Riding your bike to the dry cleaners to retrieve the laundry? Or hanging out in the bike shop talking about punk music with the head mechanic?

And does any of it really matter given that the human race will inevitably go extinct sooner or later (if not sooner), and that every single thing any of us have ever done, from Shakespeare and his plays to Steve Jobs and his iPod will be nothing more than dust at best.

I know I ought to be doing more with my days, but I’m not entirely sure what “more” means. As long as I’m not actively making the world a better place—writing Shakespeare plays, for example—then does it really matter whether I’m doing yoga or taking a walk? I could be practicing flute, I guess, but why that instead of prepping for my summer philosophy class?

I realize, of course, that this is one of those “problems” that is really a privilege. If I were an impoverished auto-rickshaw driver in India and had no choice but to hang around the coffee stand all day in hopes of drumming up a couple fares before nightfall, these questions would never emerge. And even last year at this time, when I was teaching 3 classes, I never had the luxury of wondering about whether it was a worthwhile use of my time to spend six hours of my life grading.

So, I guess I’ll just live with it; at least I’m not wasting my time (right now) watching Youtube.


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