Not to be doom and gloom, but every year, as December draws to a close and everyone charts their "Best-Of" inventories, I prefer rather to reflect on the mistakes I made throughout the year: ways I've squandered my money; life-changing decisions that went awry (I temporarily moved to New York last year), people I wish I'd never talked to, and other such oversights. To me, this is a much more efficient use of my energy than ruminating over positive experiences. After all, the good was good. It probably won't happen again anyway. Examining the bad however, we have the ability to change, to avoid history's desire to constantly repeat itself. It's the immutable lesson of learning from our errors. Thus, in honor of my annual holiday tradition, I've decided this year to contemplate the ways in which I've wasted my time in 2011.
This year, it was a close race. I've managed to blow many an hour on useless activities. Being in that mid-20s, capricious, ever-dissatisfied state of mind has led me to make countless crass judgments, and also heightened my emotional turbulence such that I constantly compare myself to extremely successful people my age like Mark Zuckerberg or Maria Sharapova, concluding I am a complete botch of an existence. To console myself, I waste more time. Nevertheless, I've narrowed down my record, bearing in mind such factors as amount of time lost, attributable opportunity costs, and degree of anger provoked at the recollection. Accordingly, here is my list of the worst choices I made over the last year as to how to spend my time. I hope everyone will benefit from my misguided moves, and avoid making the same faux pas.
1. Watching the film Tree of Life without illicit substances. For the longest time, I tried to convince myself I was urbane enough to interpret the sophisticated creative value of a movie two hours long with no dialogue, no plot and bizarre juxtapositions of dinosaurs, but, ultimately, I am not.
Time wasted = 2 hours, 19 minutes.
2. Turntable.FM. A ravage of time, albeit an enjoyable one. The pressure to cultivate the best playlist and earn bigger and better avatars coupled with the temptation to chat with fellow spinners means there is no doing anything else.
Time wasted = 10-15ish hours, till I cut myself off.
3. Looking at the Facebook pages of people who irritate me solely for the purpose of being irritated.
Time wasted = 150 hours.
4. Attending a San Francisco Giants game after they'd already been eliminated from the playoffs. It's sad, lackluster, and somehow even the crab sandwiches don't taste as fresh.
Time wasted = 3 hours, 5 minutes.
5. That guy from the wedding.
Time wasted = Memory is hazy, but honestly, not much.
6. TIED: The L train in New York and the 5 Bus in San Francisco. It doesn't matter if it's running or not running, how many times can one person use the L as an excuse for being late? And what's with this "sometimes only to 6th Ave, sometimes all the way" on the 5? Decide.
Time wasted = Unfathomable.
7. Opening a savings account. You're not really saving if all you do is transfer!
Time wasted = 3 hours.
8. Looking up information on Ryan Gosling. It's pretty clear my standards are erroneous, and perhaps I wouldn't be perpetually single if I stopped using him as my measure of assessment every time I met someone. Moving on to the newly-slim, always witty, Jonah Hill in 2012.
Time wasted = 35 hours.
9. Yelling obscenities at my computer for updating every time I look the other direction. There is no way to hurt its feelings, therefore no redeeming value.
Time wasted = 30 hours.
10. TIED - Shoveling snow in the New York winter and attempting to dress provocatively in the New York winter. Both futile efforts; both miserable experiences; both trigger men to laugh at you.
Time wasted = 17 hours.
11. Lying on the beach in San Francisco in a swimsuit. Even if it is an unusually warm day for October, it's still not warm.
Time wasted = 5 minutes.
12. Going vegan. For, like, a day, I tried.
Time wasted = 19 hours, three minutes.
13. Paying attention to pedestrian road signs. For the first half of the year, I stayed within all crosswalks, and followed all traffic signals. Then, I got hit by a car anyway. Now, I walk wherever the fuck want, whenever I want.
Time wasted = 87 hours, 30 minutes.
14. Standing in line at Whole Foods in Union Square Manhattan. Maybe it's me, but when the checkout line is so extensive that it wraps around the salad bar, inhibiting customers from scooping up their quinoa concoctions, I think it's a sign the "enter by lane-color" system is not working.
Time wasted = 50 hours.
15. Law school. A questionable decision, as I don't want to be a lawyer, but the verdict's still out regarding my ulterior motives. Likely, it's a shoo-in for the 2012 edition.
Time wasted = To date, one semester.
16. Explaining to people what I'm doing with my life. Don't worry about it; I'm not.
Time wasted = 23 hours, 47 minutes and counting.