There are 365 days in a year; 24 hours in a day; 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds in a minute. Every one of us has the same amount of time. How we use it is what counts. Do we use it in a positive and productive way or do we waste it on trivial negativity?
Each and every day when I wake up, I say thanks for the gift of another day and then I ask myself that question. Then I decide how my day will be. Its my decision -- positive or negative.
Have you ever noticed how time seems to move at different speeds? Sometimes an hour seems like an eternity while other times it passes at the speed of light. More than likely, that relates to what were doing in a particular time frame.
If its something positive and productive, the time flies by quickly. If what were doing is depressing, negative or unfulfilling, time seems to slow down to a snails pace. Time is a given. What we do with it is a choice.
Recently, having gone through some medical challenges, Ive had this time issue on my mind a lot. Part of it is reluctantly coming to the realization I dont bounce back as quickly or mend as completely due to my age. Middle age enjoys pointing this out. In fact, I think it even gloats about it.
One thing is for sure. The older I become, the faster time seems to pass with the exception of when youre in pain. A perfect example of this was earlier this summer when I had kidney stones and was in excruciating pain. It seemed like an eternity before I could reach the hospital to find relief.
Another example of how time appears to accelerate and then stomp on the breaks is during exercise class. During a recent cycling spin class at the gym, this time notion popped into my head. We were in the middle of a section referred to as sprinting. Yes, it is much like a runner except youre on a stationary bicycle. During these sprint sections, you spin with all of your might for various amounts of time and then recover for the same amount of time. For instance, you may sprint for 15 seconds and then recover for 15 seconds or you may sprint for an entire minute and then recover for a minute.
As I was sweating and breathless, it occurred to me that the sprinting part seemed to last much longer that the recovery part. In other words, when Im pushing myself to the point of pain, each second seems like a minute. But when Im able to recover, if thats what you want to call it, the same amount of time flies by in an instance.
For me, exercise is a productive way to use my time so I do it as often as I can. It allows me to work on my mind, body and soul.
I usually cram a lot into my day. I dont require much sleep and I try to keep myself positive and productive for most of my waking hours. But I must confess -- this is very hard for me -- one of my personal biggest wastes of time is allowing negative people and issues to sap my energy. Like water running down a drain, I allow what these people have said or done to take some of my energy away. It drives me crazy that, long after its over, I still carry it around, allowing it to taunt and distract me from my positive thoughts. I work on this daily, but it is still my Achilles tendon.
Even though Ive had almost 53 years to get this straight, Im still a work in progress. My wife has helped me so much with this over the years. Just let it go and forget about it, Mark, she says. Its just not worth it.
Ive considered her words a lot recently because, when you think about it, whatever you choose to spend your time on comes at a cost. The fact is that although none of us know exactly how much time we are allotted on Earth, when we opt to waste precious time on things that are not precious, it comes with a price. We are exchanging valuable time for things that shouldnt matter.
Ive learned that you cant change the way other people feel, how they act or what they say. That is totally out of our control. All we can do is change the way we deal with it and decide not to allow it to affect us. I understand that is easier said than done. With each day, I try to grow and learn, but Ive not completely mastered this.
How we handle something always comes down to a choice. And sometimes it comes down to choosing who we have around us. Its very hard, but if someone constantly brings out the worst in you or shifts your positive perspective, you have to distance yourself from their negativity.
When everything is said and done, we all have 24 hours in a day. We can waste it on negative people and things or we can make the choice to free ourselves and become more positive.
Like Debra has always said, Its our choice! I love this quote by Hans F. Hansen. It says it all: People inspire you, or they drain you -- pick them wisely. I choose to be inspired. I hope you do, too!
More with Mark
Taste of Home is Sept. 12 at the City Auditorium, 415 First St. Mark will again serve as emcee for this popular event featuring information, cooking demonstrations, great door prizes and more. The event is sponsored by The Telegraph. For more information and tickets, go to macon.com/tasteofhome.
Just two spots remain for Mark and Debra Ballards annual New York City holiday trip Dec. 5-9. Join the Ballards in the Big Apple at the most amazing time of year for Broadway shows, tours, shopping and more. For details, go to www.markballard.com or call 478-757-6877 and leave your mailing address to receive the information by postal service.
Check out Marks website, www.markballard.com, for current projects, recipes, Marks T-shirts, prints, cards and his collectible porcelain plates.
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Mark Ballards column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or become a subscriber to Marks Facebook page.