Toothpaste back into the tube

Spending your time wisely

Patrick Ullmer | Photo courtesy
Just like time and money, toothpaste cannot be given back.

Toothpaste is easy to squeeze out of the tube but is nearly impossible to put back into it. In a sense, toothpaste is a one-time purchase with no refunds. With this in mind, two very important matters in our life come to mind, time and money.

The other day I went to the bank to withdraw some cash for groceries when I saw that the bank’s walk-in section was closed. Hesitant at first to try the machine set in its place for deposits and withdrawals, I tried it out and found it to be efficient enough in its non-personal dealings. 

Later, upon expressing my satisfaction with this new form of banking to a peer, they related the ways in which taking money from the bank is like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube: so easy to take from the source and so difficult to return. I’m sure most people have been guilty of taking a bit too much at one time or another.

When I later received my bank account summarizing my spending and deposits, I found that my balance was lower in my checking account by a very large margin, most of the increased cost owing to gasoline and food expenses. I was relieved to see that I hadn’t lost very much money to frivolous spending, something that can’t be said of my behavior one or two years ago. Had I been spending similarly now, I would have had an even lower balance still.

However, it was not money which I was spending and losing over meaningless objects, it was time. I’ll let you in on a little secret about myself, one that will probably change forever the way you see me: my favorite thing to do on a weekday night is absolutely nothing at all. 

I love to accomplish nothing, entertaining myself either on social media, with music or movies or snacking on junk food. 

Does this sound familiar? What a coincidence. It seems for many of us that time is being spent on nothing important.

I know that living in quarantine is a difficult prospect to take on, but it is an important one. How we spend our time today helps determine how we spend our time tomorrow and the following day, and how do you think you will spend your time tomorrow?

You can take this time to watch TV, to browse the internet or whatever else keeps you sane while not doing much at all. After gauging my low-activity level during this quarantine, I was encouraged by a friend (the same who had provided the toothpaste analogy) to try something new that would test and influence my capacity for accomplishment—teaching myself to play the guitar.

At the same time, I was instructed by an inspiring instructor to read a classic novel, which I certainly had nothing against. On a similar note, I wondered whether now was the time to go about publishing my mediocre American novel.

Whatever I choose to do, or whatever you choose to do, safety measures must be taken, but not to a hypochondriac level.

This is a very serious and dark time, but it gives us a license to better understand ourselves through safe activities. If you do nothing important today, how will you see yourself tomorrow?

This time we have in quarantine must be spent studying for doubtlessly important school studies, but it can also be utilized in reaching out to other people, whether they be friends or family. 

You are not the only person who may feel alone right now, but you can determine how to go about your position and enact it. Spend your time and money wisely, not just to survive but also to live. Much like toothpaste, you can’t get either time or money back once you’ve wasted them.

A final note to leave you on, as said by Captain Picard of Star Trek, “What we leave behind is not as important as how we’ve lived.” I don’t know about you, but I’ve found a way to be monetarily compensated by The Spectrum for mentioning Star Trek (something I do for free all the time. If I’ve managed to do something like this, time well spent and money well earned in my book, you surely can too.

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