How to Waste (or Live) a Life

It happens every year in the late summer or early fall…a desire to create, to make beauty, to design something, whether it is for the home, my wardrobe or workspace. And for the past two years, I have had little luck scratching that itch. For a while it was acrylic painting, but when J. Miguel moved in, there was suddenly no room for my easels, canvases, brushes, paints and supplies. Then it was coloring, and while it did temporarily fill a void, I never felt like I was actually creating something. Anyone can color between the lines and yes, some can create incredible pictures using special techniques, but for whatever reason, it left me unfulfilled.

So I started doing some research and discovered the wonderful world of jewelry making. Soon, I found myself learning an entirely new language. Words with meanings I never knew existed before have crept into my vocabulary: findings, crimps, round nose pliers, side cutters, crimpers, clasps, Czech glass beads, seed beads, filler beads, .018 mm wire, jump rings, charms, etc., etc. It’s been an exhilarating kind of feeling filled with ideas, intimidation and an overwhelming discovery of what one can do to create beautiful pieces of jewelry—pieces I would actually wear to work!

With guidance from a friend who has done this type of craft for years, yesterday I learned how to use all the new hardware I purchased (free of charge with my credit card points). And I spent a modest amount of money yesterday building up my bead and findings inventory thanks to a 70% off Labor Day sale at Michael’s, guaranteeing me hours of creativity and design. It’s safe to say now I’m addicted. I could spend hours designing and making necklaces and bracelets, and once I improve my skills, I’ll experiment with earrings and rings.

As I sat at my worktable last night working on a teal green and gold bracelet, I realized the value of having a hobby and why people are willing to invest time and money into an activity that brings them joy and learning. Now that I’ve experienced the excitement of this new activity, I can’t wait to spend every non-working waking hour dedicated to this!

Just the other day I saw someone post a WSJ article on Facebook with the headline, “Why 4 a.m. is the Most Productive Hour,” an article that basically praised the likes of Tim Cook and Michelle Obama who wake up at 4 a.m. to catch up on emails and get an early head start to their busy days. It went on to interview other “powerhouses” who agreed that the most productive part of their days is the 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. timeframe. What a sad existence. And why are we praising these people?

How is sacrificing on sleep (and free time for those who do this on weekends and holidays) being productive? How is this being praised as working efficiently? Why is a reputable newspaper like the Wall Street Journal glorifying this ridiculous practice? If you can’t get done what you need to get done during normal waking hours, you are anything but efficient or productive. If you can’t manage your time, prioritize, and delegate during the course of your day, something is wrong with your work style. There is absolutely no need to get up at 4 a.m. to catch up on emails, especially if you are Tim Cook or Michelle Obama with the money and resources to delegate. Honestly, I feel something is wrong with your life if that’s considered the most productive time of your day.

If you ask me, life is too short. The world will not fall apart if we get an extra two hours of sleep from our already sleep-deprived lives. And while society likes to tell us the super stars of today make time for emails, the gym or work  at 4 a.m., I believe the true super stars get their work done and still make time for rest, relaxation and hobbies that challenge and enlighten them, without sacrificing on sleep. Think about what you will regret the most at the end of your life. Not getting up at 4 a.m. to check your emails or not re-arranging your life so you can enjoy simple joys like hobbies and people who bring you happiness. If you ask me, the choice is simple. Screw society and newspapers telling us otherwise. If you are struggling to get things done, re-evaluate your work style and ask for help before resorting to a 4 a.m. daily wake-up call. Life is simply too damn short.