Wasted Time vs. Time Wasted

I’m getting old.  No no…don’t try to make me feel better by telling me how young I look…well…okay you can try.  Fact is that I’m 53 damn years old which means I’ve been on the planet longer than I have left on the planet (unless I live to be 107 which is highly unlikely…possible but unlikely).  PLUS the time I have left is time this body and brain will be winding down rather than gearing up or coasting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing my hands in the air like I don’t care and giving up!  Quite the contrary.  I’m doing all I can to keep the body and brain “hittin’ on all 8’s” for as long as possible.  That means working, exercising, learning, eating well, sex and all those other things that More magazine says will keep me young.

After all, 50 is the new 30 right?

What the fuck does that mean anyway?

Anyway, I’ve become very contemplative of late.  I’ve been looking back and thinking about all the time I wasted being trashed when I could have been doing something else.  Anything else.  I spent so much time wasted that I wasted a shit-load of time.

See what I did there?  Yeah…I’m a regular Bill Shakespeare.

But seriously, I did waste a great deal of time that I could have spent enjoying…well…anything!  Specifically I’m talking about my 40’s.  Yep…pretty much the whole freaking decade.  That’s my lost decade so to speak. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I drank in all of my decades from my teens to my fifties and I didn’t know it then but I drank alcoholically for all of it.  But my 40’s?  Yeah…that was when it all went to shit and I dove ass first into that big bottle of Chardonnay.  That was when it went from being “fun” to being tragic.  When it went from being an occasional way to blow off steam to a necessity.  That’s when I began to isolate and spend “quality time” with my bottle(s).

I feel like that whole period is one big blur.  From 2001 to the end of 2009 the following events happened…

  • September 11th (we lived in DC then)
  • My husband’s company failed (due to 9/11)
  • We moved to my dream home (near the beach)
  • The hubs had emergency triple bypass surgery and then gall bladder surgery two years later
  • One of my twins broke his arm which required surgery and then a while later contracted a serious bout of strep that landed him in the hospital
  • I had to fight to get the other twin diagnosed with ADD and then found out he was clinically depressed as well (which of course I blamed myself for)
  • My mom passed away after spending a great deal of time in and out of the hospital and running into a house with her car which almost killed her in and of itself
  • I accepted a new position that relocated us to another state leaving the dream house behind and plunging me into a prolonged depression
  • I got laid off from that job about a year after we moved
  • I decided (with the help of my wonderful husband) that enough was enough and got sober

Looking back you’d think all of those things would be etched in my brain for a lifetime right?  Well they are…sort of.  Most are kind of a blur because I spent so many evenings drinking and so many days wondering when it would be okay to crack open a bottle.  Date night became an excuse to get plastered and escape, for a minute anyway, all the bullshit that was happening. 

What I do remember was using all of that as an excuse to put on some diving gear and go deeper and deeper into that bottle like the scary dude that sometimes shows up in Bikini Bottom to try to capture SpongeBob and Patrick.

Let’s try this again with my internal demon adding her two cents.

  • September 11th (we lived in DC then) – the more I watched the coverage, the more I want to drink
  • My husband’s company failed (due to 9/11) – I’m sorry honey, let’s go out and drink talk about it
  • We moved to my dream home (near the beach) – Let’s celebrate by having all our new neighbors over so I can get shit-faced the first of many times and embarrass myself the first of many times to know them
  • The hubs had emergency triple bypass surgery and then gall bladder surgery two years later – Okay I can’t drink because I never know when I’m going to get a call from the hospital…gotta keep it together…I could really use a drink
  • One of my twins broke his arm which required surgery and then a while later contracted a serious bout of strep that landed him in the hospital – My boy needs me, I need to be ready to go to him in the middle of the night or, when spending the night at the hospital, oh well, I can have a drink when he’s home and okay
    • Let’s pause this part of our broadcast to pose a question: “Who the fuck has thoughts like that when their son is in the hospital being stuck with nine million needles?”  Answer:  An alcoholic in denial…that’s who.
  • I had to fight to get the other twin diagnosed with ADD and then found out he was clinically depressed as well (which of course I blamed myself for) – I’m a terrible mother because of course I caused his depression…better get two bottles tonight
  • My mom passed away after spending a great deal of time in and out of the hospital and running into a house with her car (which almost killed her in and of itself) – drink, drink, drink, drink
  • I accepted a new position that relocated us to another state leaving the dream house behind and plunging me into a prolonged depression – Let’s celebrate because I got the job…oh my god I hate this job…I hate this house…I’m homesick I want to go home…drink, drink, drink, drink, drink
  • I got laid off from that job about a year after we moved – I hate my life, I’m so depressed, no wonder I drink, I hate myself, I CAN’T STOP DRINKING
  • I decided (with the help of my wonderful husband) that enough was enough and got sober

Here’s the saddest part…rather than remember, with clarity, all of the life events that usually serve to build character, provide wisdom, and make us appreciate all of the beautiful things that life has to offer, I have clear memories of trying to figure out where my next drink was coming from.  And I was supposedly high functioning!!!!!!!  There was no functioning happening there people.

That’s a WTF moment if I’ve ever heard one.

Sobriety has taught me to look back only so much as it will help me stay sober.  I need to wake up and realize that sitting around “contemplating” how much of my 40’s I wasted getting wasted isn’t going to change one motherfucking thing.  No matter how much I wish I could go back and change things, the fact is I can’t.  God put me right where I am supposed to be exactly when I’m supposed to be…here…there…  Attention:  Is there a grammar nazi in the house?  I think this post could use one right about now.  Just raise your red pen…I’ll see you.

It’s time to get back to enjoying and experiencing the time I have right here, right now.  Time to get my pink cloud back.  I’m sober and moving solidly forward.  And being sober has helped me learn to be present and pay attention to what is going on all around me every single solitary moment of every single solitary day. 

No more time wasted…no more wasted time.

Namaste

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17 thoughts on “Wasted Time vs. Time Wasted

  1. Sherry,
    I loved the post! I am 54 and feeling the same thing about my life being more than 1/2 over, I am thinking it is close to 2/3 over. And you certainly had it rough in your 40s, but now your sober, your contemplative and your funny! I really agree with you about enjoying now and experiencing now. I have spent so many hours with what if and it really is a waste of precious time that could be spent living in the moment.
    My drinking never got to a horrible level on a daily basis, but it was bad enough that I was just so obsessed with drinking. On many days of the week the conversation that ran through my head went something like this; did I drink too much last night? Do my eyes look red? Why did I have the 3rd or …. Glass of wine? What is wrong with me? I won’t drink today, well I had a tough day, maybe just 1 or 2. That behavior really took me away from enjoying the moment. So I am feeling so great to be out of that cycle. I keep reading the blogs and journaling and taking great care of myself ( well except for the added sugar). Life is so much better without that conversation running through my brain. I can finally feel my brain slowing down and relaxing.
    Sorry for going off topic a little.
    Anyway, have a great rest of the week

    1. It’s not off topic at all!!! You are right on the money. The thing I love the most about being sober is the literal peace of mind…so peaceful.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Sherry

  2. Ha ha…I like how you took a hammer to the “high functioning” moniker. I have always said an alcoholic is an alcoholic. High, low, whatever functioning. Usually when the term “high functioning” term comes up, I often say / think “compared to *what*?” lol. Regardless, spending time thinking about the time we wasted, the money we killed, the relationships we busted, etc. is even more wasted time, don’t you think? Of course I get my flashbacks, and some make me wince a bit, but in the end, I have to remember that wasn’t the authentic me. That was another me, and I can’t live in the past.

    Anyway, great stuff, Sherry…as usual 🙂

    1. Thanks Paul. Yeah…I get the flashbacks also and that’s when this blog is so therapeudic because I can come out here, put it all on the page and leave it there. Then I can let it go.

      Sometimes I just need that reminder that dwelling on any of that shit is just a waste. Time to move forward.

      Sherry

  3. I applaud this post and all it’s sentiments with a standing ovation and a hearty “Bravo!”. Life is too short. Learn from the mistakes of the past to avoid mistaking the future for granted.

    1. Amen my friend…amen.

      And thank you for the standing ovation! Haven’t had one of those since 3rd grade when I had the starring role in our Girl Scouts production. (And I’m sure that was just parental pride/pity.)

      Sherry

  4. I could have written this exactly. The life events would be different, but the response to anything was the same, when is it time for drinks?
    I too feel a lot of wasted time behind me. Maybe because in our 50’s we know we don’t have the luxury of wasting it anymore.
    I realize the past is the past, but sometimes you have to get through it to really leave it behind.
    Great post Sherry!

    1. Yes yes yes…that’s it! I just have to get through it to really leave it behind. Genius.

      And you are so right about feeling like I don’t have the luxury of wasted time anymore. There is something about that “5” in front of the other numbers that does it to you.

      So glad you’re still out here – I’ve been missing your posts.

      Sherry

      1. I am trying to get prepared for another road trip and visit to my mother. It is robbing me of sleep. Therefore I am brain dead.
        I will post when I get to the other side. 🙂

  5. I can so relate to those thoughts. Mine was my thirties I lost that 10 years… that included most of my son growing up and my daughter arriving… honestly she seems to have appeared at 6 years old some how in my recollections and I don’t remember having much to do with any of it really … including the conception but I presume I must have.

    We won’t regret the past… hmmm… I bloody well do. I still wonder what my life, particularly my relationship with my wife and kids, would be like if I’d not been so fucked up during that part of our lives? Still water under the bridge that’ll never flow again but I can’t deny I do feel I did waste the best years of my life away really if I’m brutally honest with myself

  6. Your 40s, my 20s. It’s all a bit of a blur, isn’t it?!?!?!

    Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or lies…we all have something. I’m glad you were able to work past your something to a place of sobriety, Sherry.

    I truly am.

    Blessings,
    Dani

  7. Well that’s just weird Sherry. I have had a few days away from the sober blogs because I have been travelling around and working but I popped in here and found this post.

    The weird part is that you wrote this on Monday. The day before I was driving home from a friend’s party. It is a fairly long drive, about two hours. I’ve recently started choosing topics I want to really think about and waiting till I have a long period of time, like a long drive, to think about them – like really nut them out. I would never have done this drinking, it’s definitely a sober phenomenon and it might be sparked by a radio comment, something I read or a personal problem. Well that Sunday I spent the whole drive home thinking about that same decade. I ran through this long list of things which happened to me during that time and was just amazed. In 1998 I was backpacking around the world with my then partner, by 2008 I was married (to someone completely different) having my second child and living in a small country town with many, many events happening in between.

    It was the biggest, most intense, tumultuous decade of my life. And I realised as I thought about it that I never had time, never took time, to process each event as it happened. Each major life event was preceded and followed by yet another one. I know now that not allowing myself to process these situations definitely added to my desire to blot everything out with drink, to lighten the load by being drunk, to be the party girl, free spirit, no strings, no ties – just out for a good time. I wish that I had taken time to process. Instead of riding through these life events all bluster and bravado and “I’ll be fine!” I wish I had just taken the time to recover from these things one at a time.

    Maybe that’s what this whole recovery thing is – not just from alcohol, but from all the reasons why we drank. One by one, forgiving ourselves and forgiving others so that we can move on.

    I wish you all the best on your journey with your new therapist. I really believe that a step in any direction is better than no step at all. Life is movement, not moving is stagnation and stagnation is not good.

    Big hugs,
    Kirst

    1. I think you’re right about the not processing thing. That’s what clued me in to there being a problem now…the fact that I’m not processing events when they happen. I’m not taking time to stop and reflect on life events even now. I need to learn how to do that.

      Sherry

  8. yeah, the 50s bring on contemplation, that’s for sure. Wait till you “retire.” That’s another life event that reshapes reality. But, 53 is YOUNG! (Perspective is everything.) My 50s were my best years. I was strong, healthy, sensible, and in control of my life, even when things about my life were beyond control. By being in control, what I mean is, I knew how to deal with the nasty givens by shifting my focus from what was bad to what was good. Nuff of that. Make the best of these years. The suckers never come back.

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