by María L. Trigos S. Gilbert

“Do your chores first,” my mother always tells me. My father more likely would say, “One must do what one must do.” During all those previous centuries to the actual XX century, people complained more and more about not having free time to do the things they want, but the ones they need to, have to.

Certainly the verbs have been misinterpreted; want and need. Most of the time we say, “I want to work on…,” yet we are really referring to the fact that we need to work. To work is not a matter of choice, but of necessity and obligation. If we understand those premises, our conclusion won’t be faulty, nor our logic.

Prioritizing Time
Time is a very precious thing which has been divided into seconds, minutes, and hours. In certain moments we feel that those hours have been used wisely while in other moments we feel as if we have really messed up our time, by doing the things that we want and not the things that we should have done.

No wonder we feel guilty, don’t we?

We get so worried of our misused time that we even waste our time thinking about it. Isn’t it funny? It is a bit funny, but it is a pain in the mere neck when we are behind in our chores because we have been thinking in “butterflies.” Think about it: perhaps you are right now reading this article when you should be doing something else that must be first in your life. Yet you have decided to read the article for whatever reason you prefer.

So let me refresh the posted question in the first article of these series, Two Worlds Embracing Each Other: Does chatting, e-mailing, talking (Internet microphone talk) mess someone’s life up? Hum, the question should be almost rhetoric, but like a true writer I have a lot more to say about it.

I have found out that when a movie sets previous close up saying that the movie is based on a true story everyone seems to pay a lot more attention than ever before. Of course, because true stories are a lot more “worthy” than fiction, it is a matter of respect to the moments in someone’s life that have been taken to the screens of our homes, or to the big screens of the movies. So what I am about to write here is a true story, therefore, get comfortable. Enjoy yourself and learn from it if so would happen.

Internet Time
When I started chatting, or when I discovered the chatting deal through the Internet, oh mighty goodness, I became almost an addict to the digital surf of the Internet and all of it. My hands were so sweaty, my adrenaline so up. My whole excitement was very amazing of the power of sharing with some people that in “reality” I didn’t meet face to face, but the amusement truly was none.

Then the e-mailing deal came up as a result of my new online friends, again mighty goodness and oh, Lord! My time was set like this all my “free” hours were spent on the Internet plainly surfing, and my husband’s hours were set when I was practically tired and couldn’t handle the screen and the sitting any more. I know that you are about if not already thinking, “Well, María, was your life messed up?” Sure, it wasn’t messed up, but it was about to. Guiltiness is a powerful thing to turn us to the way things should be if we are really thinking straight, and honesty takes place. Otherwise, once again we are still wasting our time!

I truly believe that some people should get professional help if they think that they are not able to handle certain things. Yet more likely I am not a person who would get help for “psychological” reasons, unless it is really out of my hands. I should thank God, myself, my parents, and my lovely husband for helping me when I think that I am about to collapse. I am a computer lover; I love computers with all my heart.

Nevertheless, I have never ever been willing to let it take first place in my life because when I thought that I was giving it the first place, I decided to back off from it without hurting myself and the new friends that I met online, without counting the off-line time that I have spent working and enjoying on my computer. Certainly things may get complicated with the more things that we learn.

I learned that Net-meeting not just allowed me to chat, but to hear one’s voice and vice versa with the help of computer microphones and so on. The excitement increased, and I was plainly more than happy like a child with the great expected toy for years. Once again, I truly handle that because although I was more than tickled to death with the whole thing, I was also aware that I had more important things to do.

Reading Time
If you could go to my bathroom, something that you really cannot do, you are there far away from it. Anyway, if you could go to my bathroom, you would find there a library, and I mean a library. Every time I go somewhere somehow I come back home with books in my hands. I have read them all. I have to walk very carefully in my room when I go to bed because close to my bed are to piles of books besides other stacks of books against one of my bedroom’s wall. The living room is getting about the same. My husband and I have been thinking what to do with my books, where to put them is the question.

My parents’ home is full of books that belong to me. All of them are in my parents’ closets. They also wonder what to do with them. Do I want to give them away? I do not think so, and I mean it! Have they messed my life up? Absolutely no, they have not! On the contrary, they have helped me in one way or another. Like that is the computer deal, it is not a problem if you know what to do with it. If you know how to handle it, or if you are willing to learn how to handle it, then it is not a problem whatsoever.

A Time for Everything
I think of life as a constant learning. No wonder, I love books. Yet it hasn’t always been the case. I still remember those times when I had to dust them because of my lack of touch. Yet the older I get; the more important they become, but I am now facing a dear competition among my computer, the Internet, and my books. So we all should do the best we are able to do with what we get: books and computers. It really doesn’t have to be a competition, but Two Worlds Embracing Each Other, two worlds connecting to their maximum potential.

Let me tell you of my recent experience. My online friends and offline friends have complained lately, during these three weeks, of my little telephone calls, visits, chats, e-mails, and so on. I have been drawing a line when important things in my life are requesting my full attention. These things have been work and college studies that must not wait.

Yesterday and today I have been calling and writing e-mails to the many people calling and e-mailing. I have been telling them how busy these three weeks have been. Surely I know that they understand what I am going through because each of them have been there. It is a matter of knowing that there is a time for everything as Solomon said, the most famous and wisest man of all times.

Choice and Consequences
Yet I am more than aware that the temptation to get away from our responsibilities is greater then we are able to imagine. As I said to someone before, “Choose, but remember that choosing one thing among others have results, consequences.” There is a fine saying that says, “Life is a matter of being at the right time and place.” I think it is very true as I also think that life is a matter of choosing. So we should be very careful of what we decide should be first and vice versa. I also remember very well two very vivid thoughts: “A day lost is a day that won’t come back,” Simon Bolivar said.

Let me take the chance here to write a bit about this man, Simon Bolivar. He was a man who gave the freedom of five Latin countries: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, this last one his own country. Therefore, I am super convinced that he knew what he was talking about.

Imagine, what would have happened if he decided to take too many naps. Imagine, what would have happened if he spent most of his time writing too many love and friend letters. Imagine, what would have happened if he spent a lot of his time playing to be an actor or so. I tell you what would have happened, he wouldn’t have helped and gave the freedom to the mentioned countries.

He wouldn’t have made his dreams come true. Certainly it is pretty fair to mention that our dreams, desires, and responsibilities are full of prices. Some of these prices are sweet and deserved, yet the other side of the coin comes also as the sweet comes. Once again, our life is a vast field of choices. We should try to do our best, and needless to say that some of those choices, although needed they may also be bitter.

Using Time Wisely
I remember that part of the North American history when George Washington said, “This is it. I have done my part for my country; now I want to go back to my native state with my beloved wife.”

Dear reader, George Washington did so when he knew that he finished what he started. When he knew, his task was well done. Imagine, what would have happened if he decided to take a sport and forgot his dream and need of helping to the realization of a free North America.

What then would you be?

Perhaps you would still be a British citizen. It is nothing wrong with being a British, but for those who helped to found an independent country here in North America was a true necessity and a fair matter. Yet I am pretty aware that when we take extra time to chat, e-mail, and visit our online and off-line friends, is not the deal of forgetting about giving the freedom to a country or our country.

Nevertheless, perhaps we are taking too much time doing those things and forgetting what comes first: FAMILY and all what comes with it! We are not able to be good friends if we are not good family members! It is like preaching to the air and forgetting to breath, IMPOSSIBLE!

There are so many ways of wasting our time that the list wouldn’t fit in one article or in a life time. From my last trip to Venezuela, where I come from, I brought a book with me that I bought there with the following title: “The Use of Time.” I have to be honest with you; I have always been scared of reading it, but before writing this article I read it. The book is what the title says, we should not play with our time because the more we play with it, the less we get done. Isn’t it sad? I do think so!

Please, on the other hand, don’t take me wrong. I am not saying that chatting, e-mailing, or microphone talk on the Internet is a sin or is bad. I think that they are marvelous way of getting in touch with those who are physically far or near to us. I think that doing all those things is super neat, super creative, and super interesting. Yet they shouldn’t interfere with our responsibilities and true dreams. As my parents would say, “Who wants a kiss, looks for the lips.”

Now, let me explain this fine saying to you: If you want something badly, the only way for it to happen is if you do it, even if we are talking about praying for it to God, you are still the one to do the prayer!

So as a conclusion of this article, I firmly believe that anything in excess may mess someone’s life, may ruin someone’s life. So be attentive to your chores and be receptive with them all. Don’t take the chance of saying, “alas too late José or no way José,” because when the damage is done, the fixing is harder than it would have been in the first place. Remember to prioritize your duties in your time, and by doing so the problems are perhaps not less, but more likely to get solved!

I sure thank you dear reader for your fine attention,

María L. Trigos S. Gilbert