'Lost time is not found again.'

Image Source: Library of Congress

Image Source: Library of Congress

I've lost so much time that I will never get back. I whiled it away chasing shadows and vague notions of right. Sometimes, I chased wrong, too, just for the thrill of misbehavior.

I took a quick life expectancy survey just now. I have no idea how scientific or reliable said survey is, but it puts my life expectancy, based on fitness level, socioeconomic factors and bio-metrics at no less and no more than 101 years. That's 14 years more than most people my age.

I'll take it. I can't recoup the time I've wasted, but I can maximize what's left.

I start to think in terms like these when I analyze just how much unproductive time I've spent. How many hours have I swiped blindly at my smartphone? How many weeks worrying over the opinions of others? How many years working on everybody else's dreams but my own?

The quote in the title of this blog post is from a Bob Dylan and The Band collaboration called "Odds And Ends." What I did not realize is that Dylan most likely borrowed it from Ben Franklin. I've been spending time with the Walter Isaacson biography of Franklin, and the amount the founding father accomplished is staggering. He seems to have never been idle.

Isaacson recounts how Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac" was one of the printer's most profitable endeavors. The annually published book featured homespun wisdom in the form of quips and sayings that praised the virtues of industriousness and frugality that were so important to Franklin. One of them was, "Lost time is never found again."

Franklin lived to be 84. He understood the value of time. Though time can be lost, thankfully, wisdom can be timeless. It can be rediscovered in a basement in Woodstock, N.Y. in 1967, and again in repurposed bedroom in 2016.

Best-case scenario: 71 years left. Better make them count.

I have no cause to complain.

Try and go a day without complaining. It's almost impossible. Whether you verbalize it or keep it internal, complaints worm their way to the surface, poisoning thoughts and attitudes.

I've been trying -- with mixed results -- to complain less. It's difficult to stifle the whiny voice that pipes up at the first sign of discomfort, or the slightest hint of insult. Taking it a step further, when I hear that voice start to chime in, I try to turn whatever it's saying around and find something positive behind it. This mental exercise is taken from this video by Jocko Willink. Watch it. It will get your blood pumping.

If for no other reason, I've prioritized eliminating complaints because complaining is not a constructive enterprise. From my experience, it produces only more negative thoughts and feelings. It further sours outlooks and dispositions. It's also contagious. I've seen it bring down an entire office. It is an ineffective use of time and effort.

If time is the ultimate commodity, and complaining is not a constructive enterprise, then why bother complaining? I have too much to do, and I'm sure you do, too.