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What are we wasting?

It was past noon when my heart started beating loud and fast. It was my first time to be rushed to the emergency room, because of a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. It typically causes a person to experience skin rashes, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

While struggling to catch my breath, I thought to myself, “Am I going to die unprepared? Can’t I hug each of my family and friends to tell them how much I love them before I go? Will I leave this world without reconciling with the persons I have hurt and offended? Is it too late to pursue my interest in writing good stories, engage in sports, and add credentials to my career? Have I been a good daughter to my parents, a keeper to my friends, a neighbor to strangers, an employee of our company, and a citizen of this country?”

Thankfully, I got back into life after the drug diphenhydramine was injected through my veins. I realized that—in my 23 years of living in this fallen, yet wonderful world—I wasted many things that do not matter, but are very important in living a meaningful life.

Time. We waste most of our time doing things that make us less productive. We waste our time scrolling and updating our social media feeds, because we are procrastinating at school or work. We waste our time finding our keys, because we did not set it aside in a specific place after every use. We waste our time listening to long discussions or instructions, because we did not take down notes. We waste our time gossiping, because we cannot even correct our own shortcomings.

Treasure. Treasures are things or people that we value most in our life, such as money, health, and loved ones. We waste our money by spending most of it on temporal and temporary things. We can save or invest our money in financial institutions, donate to charity, and spend only on our basic needs. We waste our good health by eating unhealthy foods, taking up vices, and being careless in accident-prone areas. We waste our precious moments with our family, friends, and loved ones by not telling and showing them how much they mean to us while we still can.

Talent. Talents are skills and knowledge that are a person’s strength. We waste our talents when we are either too shy or too arrogant to showcase how good we are at dancing, singing, or speaking in public. We waste our skills when we are too pessimistic and afraid to learn new things. We waste our knowledge when we are too hesitant to follow rules or too lenient to reprimand others when we already know beforehand what would be the outcome.

Trust. Trust comes in different forms. We are entrusted to secret information, great responsibilities, and promises we pledge. We waste someone’s trust when we, in bad faith, divulge the sensitive information to others, lose the thing in our possession, fail with our tasks, and break our vows.

Tears. Crying is triggered by a strong feeling of sadness. We feel sad whenever the real condition is not what we expected or whenever we lose something or someone. We waste our tears on things that are not worth it and on persons who do not deserve us.

After realizing what we have wasted, we often regret and feel anxious. Wasting these time, treasures, talents, trust, and tears cannot be undone. What has happened had already happened; it is irreparable.

Life is not perfect; we commit mistakes. Life, however, can be much more meaningful if we are productive with our time, rich with our treasures, humble with our talents, compliant with the things entrusted to us, and happy with our lives.

Life is unpredictable. There are still unknown and unresolved variables. We do not have any idea when our timeline will end. Let’s not waste our life. You only live once (YOLO), as young people say. You Only Live Once, and once should be enough.


Ms. Elizalde is an associate of the Audit & Assurance Division of P&A Grant Thornton in Cebu.  P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firms in the Philippines with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members.  It is present in Makati, Cavite, Cebu and Davao.  For comments on this article, please email gel.   or


As published in Mindanao Times, dated 28 May 2018