Possibility and Probability

A Python programmer with a personality thinking out loud

11 April 2020

Alive time

by Nick

Thanks to the quarantine, I’ve found myself with lots of time to read. And keeping in line with my pledge to myself to not read “junk” like social media and the like, I’ve been reading more essays and articles on deeper topics.

One that recently resonated with me was from Ryan Holiday over at The Daily Stoic and it talked about “Alive time vs Dead time”.

The gist of this is that we experience 2 types of time: alive time is when we are happy and things are going our way. Dead time is… well the opposite. When the universe seems to be aligned against us. We’re forced to go along with someone else’s plan. When we’re helpless.

Basically the coronovirus quarantine!

I have seen a lot of people complaining and bemoaning how their lives have been upended by the virus. And I feel bad for them, I’m affected too. But when I see people lashing out about how they shouldn’t be shamed because they are using this time to watch Netflix or eat like crazy… I can’t help but think they are missing an opportunity.

Personally, sitting and “doing nothing” (that is the term I’m going to use for passive entertainment and engagement) does ZERO to help me feel better. I’ve been an anxious person for a very long time, and extended downtime coupled with extremely negative news just make it a million times worse for me.

Getting ready for the lockdown gave me a sense of purpose. Get the house and family ready for a potentially long stay. After that was done, it was just a matter of waiting.

Once my town enacted a shelter-in-place order, I looked around to see what I had and what I could do. Like most people, I have a pile of things I’m going to work on “someday”. Well, someday has arrived.

Do I want this to be dead time or alive time? I chose Alive Time. So that means I need to get busy.

I have decided to make the most of this time by working my way through a challenging Computer Science book. I have started work on clearing out the intense vegetation in my back yard. I have ramped up my exercise routine to be daily event that uses a sandbag to build my strength. I was already reading a lot, but that has increased also.

But please, this is not all I’m doing all the time. I am not a robot. To unwind at night I have watched an hour or two of Netflix. (Tiger King is nuts!) I try to get to bed at a decent hour, because I’m fortunate that I still have my regular day job. I still get bummed out about the situation.

But… when this is over, and it will end, I intend to look back on this time and be satisfied that I did something with my time. Too many people seem to think that they are supposed to use this time to do something that will impress others. Something like writing a book, or inventing calculus, or finding a cure for the virus.

I believe that is not true. You can do something that is just for you. So what if it only benefits me? I’m happy with that.

Make the most of what you have.

So take this time and do something with it. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should be something that makes you feel positive emotions like happiness, accomplishment, peace. You won’t regret it. And most importantly, you’ve got the time right now.

ps: scrolling social media isn’t the right answer!

tags: thinking