Hey, it’s that time of year to talk about time! Whoa, hang on before you start warming up that tar and bagging up chicken feathers to accost me in the parking lot after work — I’m talking about your personal time and how you spend it. And trust me, using the term “spend it” is quite apt as most of us realize as we age, it is a finite currency. I always liked the words of comedian Red Skelton on the subject of life who stated something to the effect of, “You might as well have fun as you are not getting out it alive.”
The conversation about value of time arose with some acquaintances debating the cost of gathering and burning firewood for heat rather than natural gas or electric heat or other methods. It’s pretty easy to quantify hard costs like your gas or hydro bill, cost of a furnace or heater compared to a wood stove or cost of fuel for your truck and chainsaw, but the gas and electric guys always sagely nod while pulling out the time card saying, “Yes, but when factor in your time it takes to get the wood and split and stack it — no comparison.”
OK, I’ll bite, although it begs the question of what are you doing with all that time you save by bumping up the thermostat rather than dropping larch bark and spiders across your living room. If it is spent sitting on your couch eating Doritos and watching reruns of Storage Wars, I would wager that by getting outdoors travelling up a forestry road and enjoying nature while getting some actual physical exercise, as well as possibly socializing with family or friends while foraging for lignin, you are right: There is no comparison.
Don’t get me wrong; we can pound back a bag of those classic chips in the yellow wrapper same as the next person (even though we feel slightly guilty doing it). Just don’t let it become a daily habit or at least use some of your valuable time to maybe do something physical as an offset. I was just reading an article that held when people say, “What should I do with my life?” or “What is my life purpose?” what they’re actually asking is, “What can I do with my time that is important?” While that particular question will take some time to answer, all I’m saying is to assign some of that time towards maintaining yourself. I have seen people that make it to retirement only to find that because they didn’t spend the time looking after themselves during their working years, they no longer had the ability to do anything of substance once they finally had the time to do it. Hello, couch and reruns.
This morning as I was in the change room after my regular morning swim, the lifeguard came through doing a check and stopped to ask me in reference to our regular early morning swims, “What are you training for?” My immediate response without thinking was, “Life,” but upon later reflection, that was the right answer. We want to be able to do some stuff as we get older and have seen far too many that can’t. Even though we are far from poster children for fitness, the bit of time we spend in the pool and fitness gym on a regular basis has improved our health and has hopefully added some long-term mobility value to our portfolio. All for the small price of a bit of our time.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.