Enjoying life, guilt-free

The Beatles had more than a few famous lines in their popular songs: “All you need is love;” “I believe in yesterday;” “We all live in a yellow submarine.” Excellent lyrics, boys, but none are really ringing true for me right now. In addition to love, I need at least a steady flow of caffeine. Since I spent most of my waking hours yesterday writing a paper about anti-globalization movements in Brazil, I definitely don’t believe in yesterday. And the last time I checked, I live in a slightly ghetto house, not a yellow submarine.

So maybe some of the Beatles’ most famous lines aren’t going to offer me any inspiration during the inevitable mid-term doldrums. As I struggle to remain focused for the last couple of months of the school year, however, a quote of John Lennon’s keeps running through my head: “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” Case in point: I woke up Saturday morning with an ambitious plan involving a second-floor cubicle in Stauffer and a considerable amount of research that had to be done for the aforementioned essay. I had visions of staying at my little cubicle all day, breaking only to refuel on coffee or perhaps to take a quick lap around the floor to keep my blood flowing.

What I actually did, however, was spend most of the day enjoying brunch with a couple of friends. We spent hours talking about everything and nothing, about having to make choices that could direct where our futures go, about wanting to escape from it all and start a slow-living commune in Chile. We were alternately serious and hilarious. We annoyed the waitress by sitting around for far too long without paying, or perhaps by being obnoxiously loud. We considered sticking around until dinner, but real life called and we moved on.

Despite enjoying the day, I returned home feeling more than slightly guilty that I didn’t even come close to accomplishing my scholarly goal. “You just wasted an entire day,” the scolding voice in my head told me ominously.

And then I found John Lennon’s quote where I find all good quotes: in a friend’s MSN name. And the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him: “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.”

Taking a minute (or a few hours) to relax, talk about life and enjoy the company of friends isn’t wasting time. It’s enjoying time, which is the way it should be.

I’m not going to look back on my years here and think: “Wow. Some of the best times I ever had at Queen’s were when I spent all day in the library, glaring at the people who dared to raise their voices above a whisper.” I’m going to remember the good times—laughing so hard it hurts over a stupid joke, enjoying a good meal out with family, nights of revelry with friends, random late-night conversations that last until morning.

Which isn’t to say I’m going to focus solely on making those good times happen all the time. They wouldn’t be special if they weren’t interspersed with the bad days and the seemingly never-ending hours of studying. But it’s important to relish the fabulous moments when they come and not feel guilty about enjoying them, and I intend to do more of that.

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