How Should I Spend My Time?

How should I spend my time? It’s an old question. I’ve heard the best way to do that is by finding what you value and building from there. My core values are being good at something, my health, independent mindedness, my friends/family, and learning.

From there I can see what I should and shouldn’t spend my time on. It’s not so simple. I find TV to be an activity of value, but it doesn’t fit in to any of those values. It must be a waste of time by all accounts. But I don’t think that. I’ve read a wealth of fiction in my life. I’ve learned more from it than non-fiction. The way I see the world is inspired by it. I think good TV can provide a new lick of story that written word can’t. That’s valuable in showing me a new ways of seeing the world. The new way of seeing the world comes from the story and the character arc. Character arc is important because it shows you how a person changes and helps you to reflect on your own memories.

There’s something about a good story, however, that’s incredibly sad. That melancholy “happiness within sadness” is usually found within the ending of the story. The good goodbyes are sad. They often include the breaking of the group you have been with for a long time. They seal this character’s arc and send them on a new one. That’s what makes story valuable. Good TV shows have value because they can go further and in new directions than normal written word.

I’d rather watch the same arcs over and over again and deeply empathize with a character than watch many different brainless things. If I’m going to do something, it better be something I value. This logic, I suppose, applies to much more than fiction. I’d rather relearn the same chapter many times and deeply understand it. Of course, there is a place and time to explore new things, but it’s nice to return to the good and sad.

So how should I spend my time? I still have only a faint idea. The best advice I can give myself is to focus on intentionality. When you intentionally choose to do something fun or that’s not work, you rarely do too much. The routine to build on this would be spending some time alone with your thoughts, maybe a long walk. Rediscover the true suffering in the human condition. Then, when you’ve had your fill of existential dread, work on something hard for a couple hours. Do that everyday. Form a loop of existential dread and work. That’s where I could be the most productive. I’ve heard that solitude is the best way to find what to work on. Being truly alone reconnects you to the prison of your own mind and mortality. An animal, when held in chains long enough, and should it still have the will to live, becomes intensely alive from an irreversible awareness of death once released.

2021/05/28 by Ishaan Koratkar