Our class discussions from the last several weeks about how we spend our time have influenced my perspectives and the way that I use my time. Every Thanksgiving break and Spring break in my two years at Fordham, I have gone home and spent much of the break studying, since I have consistently had science exams immediately after break. This year, I decided to go home for Easter, and I thought that I would be obligated to study every day in preparation for the next week’s exams. My older brother had also decided at the last minute to come home; he recently graduated from college and is employed and no longer living at home so the last time I saw him was for Christmas. He would only be home for a couple days.
By this time, in our class we had started to speak of Seneca, and his views on the best way to spend time, which was in productivity. We learned about the Sabbath, and how days of rest influenced parts of people’s lives that I originally assumed would not be affected, such as parking schedules in New York. We debated the meaning of rest and free time, and we tried to define what counts as work and what doesn’t count.. We considered the best way to use one’s time, and how we were spending our time then, and how we wanted to spend it in the future, and how these decisions concerning our time would affect our lives.
These considerations were on my mind when I recently had a phone call with my aunt. Her husband, my uncle, passed away unexpectedly during spring break. When it happened, it was a big shock to everyone in our family. This was the first time I talked with my aunt since it happened. I told her I was going home for break and everyone in our immediate family would be in the house together that weekend. I mentioned my tests and said something about studying that weekend, and she stopped me. My aunt said that time passes far too quickly than you realize; the most valuable time, which is the time spent with the people you love, would pass before I knew it. She reminded me that this was a rare occasion when the whole family would be together and I should spend the time with my brother in the short time that he was home. I finally realized how selfish I was being with my time. I actually was planning to travel all the way home to just to put headphones in and study the whole break with little time to talk with, and even just be with my loved ones for a few days, and I was willing to give up this valuable time with family for one test grade that didn’t really matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
Luckily, I listened to my aunt and I chose to relax and enjoy this time with my parents and sister and brother, and participate in family activities with them like coloring easter eggs, and visiting our extended family.
Seneca did not believe that the Sabbath was useful or efficient; he thought a day of rest every week, 1/7 of one’s life, was a waste of time that could be used in a productive way. However, I have to disagree with him. People get caught up in busy schedules and forget the importance of rest, and of free time, to spend as one wishes. During Easter break, resting from work, from studying, led to my greater focus and efficiency in the school week after break. It also allowed me to speak with my family, and catch up on everything we missed about each other’s lives since we last saw each other, and find joy in this time together, which I would have regretted missing.
So, in conclusion, something that I will carry from this class is careful consideration of how I am spending my time and if I think my use of time is fulfilling and if it supports my beliefs of how I should try to live.