Can A Life Be Wasted?

Why Not Being Able to Change Your Life Feels Like It’s a Life Wasted

This past year has been tough for everyone. No one has been able to live the life they could have possibly imagined. Not in a “I Can’t Believe I am So Lucky” kind of way but more of a “I Can’t Believe This Is What’s Happening” kind of way. I hear from so many people that they feel they have wasted a year of their lives, not being able to pursue their dreams, goals and desires or live them to the extent they would have wanted. For the people that got off lightly during the COVID-19 pandemic, it meant not being able to go to graduation, to go out on a date, to go on the trip they had always been saving for. Most of us were stuck inside, limited in living our lives between the couch, the fridge and the bed within the four walls – if we were lucky. So when people tell me, it feels like a year wasted it didn’t surprise me. But it made me wonder if there was such a thing as a wasted time in your life.

As a change coach, I am inclined to believe that to change is to exist. Throughout my research over the past years, one of the key conclusions I have come to is that life is ever evolving. Everyday cells in your body change – like your nails, the length or lack of your hair, your desire for certain food. Also the world around you changes – trees grow, clouds move, your iphone needs an update. It might not feel like it, because if you paid so much attention to it it might overwhelm you. To live is to change. If there was a time in your life where you didn’t feel much change, it is normal for you to feel like you were not living. But a lot of the time, we go through change may it be internal as well and we don’t pay attention to it – such as noticing things about us we are not as good at being alone as we thought or how much we appreciate being around our family even though we really hate Thanksgiving with them and don’t dare to mention politics. We may grow in millimeters (or inches as Americans would say) and we just don’t notice. And those millimeters count for something. They are not wasted.

In I do not think a life can be wasted. I believe living is in the moment. The mere fact of being is living. Your mere existence is enough. You should live it, breathe it and enjoy it every day. Life is not what happens in big moments, it’s what happens in those times that lead up to those big moments. It is our connections with other people, the moments we spent laughing or enjoying a moment, it’s the little experiments we take when trying a new toothpaste or recipe. It is the feeling or thought that you could have done more or that it should have been different that makes it feel wasted. That we should have lived up to some potential or achieved something that gives us the feeling of waste.

Perhaps we just need to change our perspective on how we define living.

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