"Killing time" has become one of the imperatives of our society. Bored, terrified by the minutes that pass, we feel obliged to undertake any activity that helps us to alienate ourselves from the incessant passage of the clock hands, as if we could avert our mortality, forget that time is the material of which life is made. .
“What we devote our time to is definitely what we allocate our life to. And this has a limited duration, even if we don't like them to remind us. We are finite beings, with a beginning and an end, immersed in a time that passes inexorably. Killing time is actually wasting or consuming part of our life.
“Those who manage their time well manage their life well. And who does not find the time to reflect, plan or program, can hardly carry out any project of a certain magnitude. Perhaps he will not even find time for himself ”, wrote the psychologist Guillermo Ballenato.
What differentiates people who kill time from those who take advantage of it?
"Killing time" means filling empty hours in the most banal ways, indiscriminately, with useless entertainment or unbridled activities, and both possibilities contain the seed of unconsciousness.
Killing time is, after all, the indolent attitude of those who are not aware of their own mortality, or who fear it so much that they hide behind the intrascendent to silence their inner demons, so as not to have to face the need to give a meaning to his life and find out what he really likes, what he wants to do and, above all, what he doesn't want to do.
Anyone who kills time is immersed in a sort of daily hyperkinesis that takes away all contemplative possibilities and the ability to move slowly and feel pleasure, as the philosopher Byung-Chul Han writes. “So the events quickly detach from each other, without leaving a deep mark, without becoming an experience”. You live without living.
On the other hand, taking advantage of time does not in any way mean working continuously or being permanently occupied, but dedicating ourselves fully and consciously to those things that are truly useful, allow us to enjoy or bring us something to grow as people - and this It also implies resting, relaxing and indulging in doing nothing.
The difference between wasting and taking advantage of time lies in the goal and attitude with which we undertake certain activities. If we read a book because we really enjoy reading, it gives us knowledge or allows us to grow, we will be "taking advantage of the time". If we read it only because we are bored, because we cannot think of something better to do, because it is what we have at hand and when we close it, we automatically forget everything, then we will be "killing time".
Don't kill time, take advantage of it!
They say that Queen Elizabeth I of England's last words on her deathbed were: "All I have for a while." The key to learning to value our time in the right measure - without obsessing over its passage but without wasting it unconsciously - is to accept our mortality, to understand that every day is a precious gift made up of 1.440 minutes that follow each other, in a silent and inexorable, until, at a certain point in life, time stops running to start flying, precipitously, and we are left without handles to cling to.
We must avoid the mistake of thinking that "those who live twice the speed can enjoy twice the opportunities in life". We must dispel the idea that "the acceleration of life causes it to multiply and get closer to the goal of a full life", because a full life is not measured in terms of quantity but of meaning. You don't live more to do more. We live longer when we feel more pleasure, when the things we do make sense to us. That is why, "whoever tries to live faster also ends up dying faster", killing time with entertainment that offers nothing but the unconsciousness of disconnecting from reality, according to Han.
Instead, we need to understand that only when we are fully aware of our own mortality can we make the most of every minute. Then, and only then, do we stop killing time to start taking advantage of those things that bring us something precious and allow us to live fuller experiences, extending the present moment as much as possible.