Bob Tamasy: Living Life In Fast-Forward

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Technology has provided us with countless wonderful advancements. Seems to me among the best is being able to record TV programs for viewing at a later time.

Some of our favorite TV shows start at 10 p.m., meaning we’d have to stay up until 11 (the curse of living in the Eastern time zone) and then get up at oh-dark-thirty for work. So it’s nice to record them instead, for watching the next day or whenever it fits our schedule. 

Not only that, but we also can fast-forward through annoying commercials and promos for shows we have no interest in watching. Since a new trend these days seems to be repeating the same commercials multiple times during a single program, it’s even better not having to watch them over and over.

For sports like football and basketball, you can speed through the pre-game commentary and mindless in-game chatter, saving an hour or more of viewing time that you can devote to other things. If you’re a NASCAR fan, you can record and speed-view the entire race in about five minutes, since all that matters are the crashes and the final lap anyway. 

Yes, the fast-forward button for TV is great. Don’t you sometimes wish there were a fast-forward button for life?

You’re sitting in a mind-numbing meeting at work, listening to someone drone on about something you have no interest in. What if you could hit the fast-forward button until you found a moment in the meeting that was worth paying attention to? 

Or it’s Monday, and you can’t wait until Friday afternoon when you’ll be leaving your desk and heading out on vacation, far from deadlines and your boss’s hovering presence. Just hit “fast-forward” and it’s Friday, you’re already in the elevator and bound for your car to drive home. Sound like a good idea?

Maybe you’re stuck in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, the minutes are moving along at snail’s pace, and you’d like to be anywhere but there. How about hitting the “pause” button, going out and doing something productive, and returning an hour or so later, fast-forwarding to the moment when the nurse calls your name? 

Yes, that fast-forward option could be useful, but in so many respects our lives already are moving too fast. When you’re raising children time seems to move so slowly – until you wake up one morning and they’re practically grown. Whether it’s kids or grandkids, there’s a lot to be said for cherishing every moment. Too soon they’re taking that first driver’s test, attending college, getting jobs of their own, marrying and doing all kinds of other adult stuff.

We wait with eager anticipation for the arrival of special days – holidays, birthdays, visits from beloved family members and friends, concerts. Then before our eyes can blink twice, those events have already passed, morphing into memories. Instead of fast-forwarding, it would be better to press the “stop action” button and savor those moments more fully. 

As the psalmist wrote, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We spend so much time fretting about tomorrow or next week, next month or next year, we often fail to appreciate the day we have. As someone has said, “Today’s a gift – that’s why it’s called the present.”

I chuckle at how future-focused we can be. On National Signing Day, when college football fans wring their hands over which blue-chip players will commit to their favorite team, the fax machines have barely stopped when those same fans start debating who will sign with their team next year. 

The Presidential election is held and the people’s choice has barely finished the acceptance speech when pundits already start commiserating over who will be the candidate for the losing party next time around.

Ephesians 5:16 advises we should be “making the best use of your time because the times are evil.” This doesn’t mean time itself is inherently bad, but it passes quickly. We can put it to good use; we can engage in unwholesome activities; or we can simply squander it through carelessness or indifference. In any case, each minute ticking away can’t be reclaimed. 

Unlike your DVR player, life doesn’t have a pause or rewind button. So rather than wishing to fast-forward through life’s mundane, unspectacular moments, we should value each one. Who knows? In the midst of the monotony, perhaps something really special will happen, surprising the heck out of us. You wouldn’t want to miss it, would you?

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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


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