Friday, April 2, 2021

On the power of words, and the wasting of time

The pandemic, the loss of my last grandparent, totaling my car, looking ahead to one of those round number birthdays--all of these recent events have started making me feel my mortality, and with it, the very real understanding that I have no desire to waste another second of the limited time afforded to me on this earth doing something that only gains me frustration.

That is why, a few months ago, I decided I would no longer waste my words on a conversation, written or otherwise, with someone who refuses to give me the same careful consideration I try to give my own interactions with others. My time is too precious. My energy is too precious. My life is too precious.

I know for a fact that a well-written and supported opinion matters. My parents would never consider themselves activists, but they are the kinds of people who would write a strongly-worded letter to the newspaper or a politician about issues important to them. Before we had a computer, my mom would set up the electric typewriter and copy out a handwritten missive. I internalized that power of the written word, and started writing letters to City Council and the school board by the time I was in high school. I have always believed in the power of the written word as a way to express myself, confide in others, impart my experiences, and sway opinions.

But the truth is that if engaging with someone is consuming so much of my time and mental bandwidth that I can't find the space for myself, and then that person won't give my words the same respect I'm giving theirs, it's not worth it. 

People have often told me this, but I couldn't internalize it until my thoughts of impending mortality made me realize that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life that way: frustrated, consumed, and trying to find just the right way to make one more point.

It's not worth it.

My time is worth more. My life is worth more. My joy is worth more.

My words are worth more.

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