A few years ago, I installed the Chess application on Facebook and played rather regularly with people from all over the world. With one of these virtual chess partners I played almost every day, sometimes for hours on end, often while I was working or should have been working. It was perfect because we were both equally strong (or weak), more interested in an exciting match than in winning, forgiving about mistakes and on top of that Mladen from Serbia was an intelligent and knowledgeable guy so that our chess matches came along with chats about literature, history and politics. We later even met for real when I visited Belgrade.
Because I was still working as a lawyer full-time back then, I had more than enough work to keep me busy around the clock. So one day I announced to Mladen that I will have to cut down on the chess matches, stating that “I am wasting too much time online playing chess when I have more important or urgent things to do.”
He replied, ever the philosopher: “If you didn’t waste time playing chess, you would waste it doing something else.”
I often think about this sentence when I do something which I enjoy more than what I “should” be doing. Of course I waste time by some standards, even by some of my own. But as long as I don’t feel like I am wasting my life, I don’t mind too much.