By Barry Barbe

After a casual potluck dinner among friends, the conversation turned to “activities that cause us to lose track of time.”

After a casual potluck dinner among friends, the conversation turned to “activities that cause us to lose track of time.”

At first, the idea of wasting time seems irresponsible. We’ve all been taught that “time is money” and “lost time will never come back.” In reality, sometimes, losing track of time is the best gift we can give ourselves. Time is not wasted or squandered if the result of time spent is a beneficial one, if only to one’s self.

In an age where we are continually bombarded by information and computer generated stimuli, the simple act of indulging in a singular activity, hobby or self-imposed time out is a luxury, but a very affordable one.

Time is a gift of which we have the ability to determine its use. And sometimes not using that time, or losing track of it is its best use.

Over the past several years, we’ve gone from basically forced isolation, where for many, we experienced true time alone for the first time. For some, this was daunting and overwhelming, but for others this period allowed for reflection, and a rethinking of priorities, passing the time as we picked up forgotten hobbies or other seemingly simple activities such as jigsaw puzzles, or reading a book. Along the way, losing track of time.

What activities allow you to lose track of time?

For some, it’s the simple rudimentary task of washing a car. But it’s more than washing and polishing a car. It’s the process of seeing your efforts create change along with an inner sense of accomplishment. All the while being alone in your thoughts.

For Linda, it’s starting the day doing beads in the corner of the kitchen in her bathrobe, only bringing her eyes up from her work much later in the day when her husband comes home for lunch.

For others it’s going down the rabbit hole of the internet as they followed link after link on a treasure hunt of knowledge, or researching for a book yet to be written.

Donna’s hobby of needlework, while appearing silent in the task, is meditative and calming.<br />

The luxury of reading a new book that takes you on travels beyond even your own expectations causes the rhetoric of the day to diminish.

It’s during activities such as these where we lose track of time that we are sometimes most at peace with ourselves.

As we polish the car, rake leaves, pick up a new hobby, or do the crossword, our thoughts travel beyond the moment as we plan the day, think of others, and work though challenges that may be facing us. And often, along the way, we realize how much we have to be thankful for.

As the holiday season approaches, and with Thanksgiving a mere week away, perhaps it is a good time to lose track of time rather than be taken over by the hectic and sometimes daunting schedule of the coming weeks.

David had an interesting take of his thought process throughout the day: “Early in the day, my thoughts tend to be more masculine in nature as I plan the day, and prepare for challenges yet unknown. But in the evening, they become more feminine or softer as I reflect back on the day, how it played out, and those I encountered.”

So, lose track of time.

Indulge in a passion or find a new one.<br />

Enjoy the sunrise with a cup of coffee. Sit on the deck in the evening and take in the sunset.<br />

This holiday give yourself and those around you the opportunity to forgo the trappings of the seeming necessities of the season, and lose track of time.

Barry Barbe owns the El Gato Azul and Torme restaurants in Prescott, and is the energy and insight behind the Prescott Palette. His radio show, the Prescott Palette, is on KQNA 1130 AM, Saturdays at noon. Email:

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