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Friday, June 1, 2012

Killing Time--Is It Murder?

tex playing video gamesImage via Wikipedia

         Recently I heard a discussion on a radio talk show about the effects on the brain and behavior resulting from playing video games.  One of the callers said that he liked to play the war game Call of Duty every night after he got home from work "just to kill the time".  The sadness of that statement struck me immediately as something that is wrong with our society.

          The empty ennui of so many lives is something that burdens me with sorrow and perplexity.  There is so much that I want to do and never seem to have the time to do it all.  If people have time to waste then I'd like to have some of that time.  I know I waste plenty of time due to my own lack of organization, but I would not ever want to think I was purposely killing time or idling away my hours.

         What is it about the "I can hardly wait" and the "hurry Friday" mentality that so many people have?  Shouldn't every moment count?  I often have things I look forward to, but I don't want to give up a second to get there any faster.  I'm going to get there soon enough.

          Are you treasuring every second, every minute, every hour?   Do you make the most of uncomfortable, boring, or difficult times?   What do you enjoy most about the journey before you arrive at your destination?  Is killing time murder?

Tomorrow on Wrote By Rote my special guest will be Christine Grote on the topic Why We Write Our Stories.  
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  1. Wow, I'd never really thought about it so deeply but we actually are kind of killing ourselves by killing too much time. I mean obviously we do need some time to relax and unwind, like I don't think it's harmful to occasionally enjoy a game of Call of Duty or to kick back and do nothing with buddies for a few days but it is important to find a balance for sure.

    I actually sold my games console for that exact reason, I definitely was playing too much and needed to be more productive with my life and honestly I have benefited from that. You can't be a workhorse all the time though, it's going to be a pretty unhappy life if you don't get some rest and relaxation the occasional time.

  2. I can't play on line games because of being epileptic, but if I go through a time when life is not going well if you don't laugh then yes one is killing themselves. Being miserable, not being motivated into doing things is not good for one's mind or body.

    Have a good week-end, we here are celebrating The Queens Diamond Jubilee then next month the Olympics so much going on.


  3. Is killing time murder? Yes! Time is an artifical measure of your life..if you kill time, you are killing a portion of yourself that you will never be able to reclaim.

  4. Lee,

    Is it wrong if you play a game with a deck of cards... but on your on-line or a game box? It is the ultimate lazy!

    Sorry I have been off the grid lately I cannot seem to get out of the Matrix... Hope all is well.

    Jeremy [Retro]

  5. I don't like that phase "killing time" at all. If you CHOOSE to play a video game (or whatever) because it helps you relax and you enjoy it, that's one thing. If you're doing it to "kill" fifteen minutes before dinner, that's another.

  6. I DO enjoy every moment of life and try not to just kill time. I am very task oriented. So if I'm not doing three things at one time, I don't think I'm doing my job. Plus, I never ever get bored.

    I think we need to start a movement against those who kill time. I mean killing isn't nice. :)


  7. Matthew -- I'd agree that playing games or hanging out or whatever recreational activities you do is fine if you are in the moment and savoring it and not just doing it wishing it would hurry by so you can do something in the future.

    Yvonne -- Yes, letting time just slip away idly and dwelling in ones misfortunes is a waste of life.

    Delores -- Use of time is like an investment. Frittering it away is like wasting money on frivolity.

    Jeremy -- Things are well here, but I think I know what you mean. Real cards or virtual cards it's all the same. I guess it's a state of mind. If you are playing because you're bored and there's nothing else in life to do then that's a bad sign. I play video solitaire nearly every night before going to bed to put me to sleep. After about 15 minutes I can barely keep my eyes open and go right to sleep. It's a sleep aid and not a reason to pass time.

    Madeline --This is my point. It's more the frame of mind of "killing time" or being able to hardly wait until a time comes with disregard that plenty could still be happening up to that time. I don't like the TGIF mentality. Monday and Tuesday have their value as well.

    Teresa -- I am rarely bored, but I am often lazy and that's a crime too. The movement should focus on education. When somebody makes a time deprecating statement, try to help them to see what they're saying and bask in the present.


  8. no i do not make the best of waiting times such as in traffic or a doctor's appt.---i have always marveled at how my husband can read a book just about anywhere and all i do is wait in horrible anticipation to get something over with!

  9. I limit my computer game playing for just that reason. And when I do play, it's not just to kill time.
    We don't get much time here so every moment should count.

  10. The cool thing about actively working on a manuscript is that you know where all free scraps of time go!

    Have a great weekend, Lee.

  11. Lynn -- Waiting times seem to be the most dreaded times for many of us and those are the times we need to use for learning how to better use time.

    Alex-- Playing games in and of themselves can be fine, but mindlessly playing them because we want to avoid doing something else is a waste.

    Suze -- I suppose some writing might be considered a waste of time but it is almost always activity with intent and that's a positive thing. Writing is almost always good for the mind.


  12. Sometimes I use the phrase "killing time" to mean that I'm doing something while waiting for another thing to happen. But usually I am enjoying the thing I am doing while waiting. I guess it depends on what people mean when they use the phrase.

  13. That's a hard question, and I don't have a good answer. I do think Callie has part of it right, though, in that "killing time" is one of those phrases that gets misused. "Killing time" is not necessarily the same as "wasting time."
    I often "kill time" by reading, especially when I'm waiting for kids. I wouldn't count that as wasting time.

  14. I'm totally with you on this one. Sometimes I feel like I need to relax for a bit, but even then I feel guilty, like there is always something to be doing. Because their is!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  15. I don't have time to kill time! I wish I could go back to when I was younger and cash in all those wasted hours.

  16. I've been working on restructuring my time so that I can make better use of it. It's helping me figure out some priorities.

  17. I don't tink every minute of our lives needs to be productive but it should never be wasted. If I want to play a video game or watch a sunrise, either is fine - as long as it's time enjoyed, not killed.

  18. Whenever I find myself complaining about how boring things are, I just think of people who are terminally ill and how they would give ANYTHING to have precious time to waste. Depressing thought, I know, but it certainly puts thing into perspective. Gotta enjoy every minute we have on this earth!

  19. I really agree with you. My parents are aging, my grandchildren growing up quickly, and I don't want to miss a moment. There has to be some emptiness that need s addressing to really squander time. Very thoughtful post. Debra

  20. Callie -- Intent is the real issue at hand. I'm talking about this who aimlessly do something--or nothing--out of boredom when they clearly have productive things to do.

    Andrew -- It's certainly a matter of semantics. I'm just disturbed by the thought of frittering away time uselessly with the purpose of doing such. Maybe different words would be better to use. Reading while waiting is a great use of ones time and it is something we usually do willfully because we want to do it and enjoy doing it. It's not the same as one more mindless uninspired activity that we add to our lives as we wait to die.

    Sarah-- Relaxation time is important and distinguishable from "just killing time" because you're bored.

    L.Diane-- I know what you're saying. Those "wasted hours" may not have all been totally wasted. Youth needs time for play for fun, but not to fill a space of boredom when there is always something one can do and savor the act of doing it.

    Eliza -- You should do some blog posts about your plan, efforts, and results. You're doing what I need to do but don't set the time aside to do it.

    LD -- This is more the point I'm getting at. I think some people pass certain allotments of time with dread and dismay when all time has value.

    M.Mama-- You said it very well.

    Debra -- I got a chill as I thought about your comment. I'm in the same middle point of my life like you describe and have to continually remind myself of the value of my minutes.


  21. Unfortunately, I think that's the way a lot of people do things. I've never been good at time wasting like that. Purposefully doing it, that is. The "I have nothing better to do, so I'm just going to do this mindless thing" idea.

    Seriously? Read a book.

  22. Well said! I realised this myself last year, and now I've got the words "Make every second count" emblazoned on the front page of my diary. Downtime is good, but killing time is a speedy road to the grave.

  23. Lee, I actually did write about it earlier today at one of my blogs. I hadn't thought about doing it as a series, but that's a good idea.

  24. Andrew - Good advice. Unfortunately I usually don't have a book when I need one the most, but I still try to keep my mind engaged with something constructive.

    Jamie -- I like your new motto!

    Eliza -- I'll be by to check out your post.


  25. I am frequently overwhelmed with activities to do, but never bored. If I say "I'm bored" it is just that I'm tired of all the things I "have" to do. My routine is too routine.

    I play some video games; but it is only to "veg" a while. Let my mind relax.

    I do notice how many people - and not just young people - need to "kill time" to get to the next big event. Not me. I get excited, but I do love the anticipation of change :)


  26. Much food for thought. Making the most of moments is best because they are really all that we have. For the next moment is not guaranteed to us.

  27. Wow Lee! What a great topic! So much to think about with that! I love it!..I'm sure we've all used the expression, 'killing time'...and I don't think that everyone who says that means that they actually want to stab those moments in the heart..people do need down time..that doesn't mean that the moments don't count. I do know what you mean though..these moments are all we have and they should all 'count'..I think maybe when people have nothing to look forward to they get in a rut of watching too much tv,(hello,me!), or playing too many video games...but then again..who's to say what's too much? I mean, if that's how someone wants to spend their life, then who am I to tell them it's wrong, or doesn't 'count'? I have enough trouble running my own life without meddling in someone elses...Does this count? Me giving you this way too long winded comment? lol!
    I know there are a lot of things I would love to do..things that seem so much more noble and worthwhile than being on the computer or watching the end though, I am forced by economic reality to spend a good portion of my time in a deli slicing overly processed, what I like to call, 'meat food', for the public..(we can't all be Mother Theresa)..I guess that counts..they get their meat and I get a couple of bucks..but how does that help the 'greater good'?
    I'm just thinking out loud..well, more though the keyboard than out loud I guess! lol!
    Thanks for the thoughts Lee..I need to get out more!

  28. My kids do a version of killing time - they just hang around, waiting for the next thing to happen. Even if that next thing is just dinner, or bedtime. I've never figured it out. I have to push them to go and PLAY WITH THEIR TOYS!

  29. Very thoughtful post Lee.

    Life is so fleeting. I try to embrace each day and each moment, because there will never be another one like it.

  30. As I've mentioned before, I play video games, and never saw it as a way to 'kill time'. They are very well-designed. Millions of dollars are poured into these games. extremely talented people spend hours developing one game. Currently, I am playing a game called 'Catherine.' It's about a thirty-something year old man who has been dating a woman named Katherine for many years. She has asked this man to formalize a commitment to her, which causes him to question their relationship and his life in general. That night, he meets another woman named Catherine and sleeps with her. The game takes you through his nightmares which are caused my the guilt which is troubling him. You must decide who you stay with. The point is, to me, playing games is active relaxation. It has a point. Everything in life should mean something, if only to the person doing it.

  31. Just the phrase "Killing time" makes me feel murderous! My grandsons spend far too much time with video games, but so does their father, so I can't comment. Wish they'd read instead though!

  32. i wish those who want to kill time could donate if to those of us who could really use it!

    video games are fine for relaxing, play time, to blow off stress after work. the danger is in the obsession - i have to set limits for my kids, adults have to limit themselves (like me & blogging! ha!)

    great thought provoker!

  33. I understand decompressing, but doing something just to avoid being present seems sad.

  34. Donna -- I hear where you're coming from. It's like a lot of people have these big major events in their lives with a lot of useless empty time space between them. I prefer to hype up some of the little events and tone down some of the big ones to give every moment a more equal opportunity at importance. I think perhaps we need to find the greater significance of the moments in the boring times. But yes I know what you're saying.

    Wanda -- So true! I'm sure many a person has spent a lot of time making big plans for a moment in the future that they never reach.

    Eve-- Let it out, Eve. This was a great comment. I guess the point here is even behind the deli counter or whatever dull routine we think we're in, time is as special as we make it. And we should always consider that we are sharing time with others so what we do with our time can make a big impact on those other people. Part of the beauty of board games or card games as opposed to solitary video games.

    Annalisa-- I think young kids are the true masters of time. To them everything can be special with or without outside stimulants like toys. Maybe you need to put yourself inside their minds and let them get involved with dinner or whatever. As long as they don't get in the way too much. :)

    Paula -- Cherish the present--this is the last time you will ever experience this exact moment.

    Nellie --Precisely! Playing video games as an active thought stimulating past-time is fine. My beef if those people who zone out in front of the screen and mindlessly pass their time playing with the sole purpose of passing time. Video games can be great for mental stimulation.

    Lizy -- And it was the "killing time" phrase that originally set off my thinking here. It's such a negative term that indicates to me that a better means could be found to use ones time.

    Tara -- Yes, I'll also volunteer to take unwanted time off of the hands of others. Then I could have more time for my blogging and then get other things done.

    Missed Periods-- That's what I think the problem is sometimes. Some people just aren't happy in the moment and can't find the value in all of their life experiences. They should learn to savor it.


  35. Thought provoking post Lee! When I was younger, I had too much time I didn't know what to do with it. Killing time was part of the routine. With maturity and adult responsibilities, time is quite scarce these days. Sometimes I feel I have to use every second productively, but this needs to be balanced as well so I don't burn myself out.

  36. If you're doing it often and specifically because you don't want to face your actual responsibilities rather than as a tool to enjoy yourself, that's the start of a dangerous downward spiral if you don't spot it soon enough.
    But, I think a bit of time killing can be productive from time to time. If I'm doing something aimlessly I find that it can clear my mind so I can return to things with a fresh perspective. I guess it all depends whether it was a planned time waste or not!

  37. bucksaver -- Time is a valuable commodity. We don't start truly comprehending the value until we get older.

    Incalescent -- Again I think it comes down to intent. If you are thinking that life is so boring and I want to hack away time to get to some future point then that is wrong. Nothing wrong with some meditative chill out time to regain focus then that is another thing entirely.



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