Cherish The Garbage Time

It’s one of those lines we throw out casually: *I want to spend more quality time…*whether it’s with friends, with family, with your kids, or with yourself.

We think everything has to be special and elaborate and worthy of a photo worthy of Instagram. And we project big expectations and put enormous pressure on ourselves to provide these moments and experiences for our kids. We save and plan for elaborate vacations. We anticipate for months and months in advance this big to-do or that one. And when it inevitably isn’t as special or elaborate or photo-worthy, we feel awful, like we’re not enough, like we haven’t done enough.

The comedian Jerry Seinfield, who has three kids, put it well when he pushed back against all of this “quality time” nonsense.

“I’m a believer in the ordinary and the mundane. These guys that talk about ‘quality time’ — I always find that a little sad when they say, ‘We have quality time.’ I don’t want quality time. I want the garbage time. That’s what I like. You just see them in their room reading a comic book and you get to kind of watch that for a minute, or [having] a bowl of Cheerios at 11 o’clock at night when they’re not even supposed to be up. The garbage, that’s what I love.”

Special days? Nah. Every day is special. We made our Tempus Fugit medallion to be a daily reminder that every minute can be “quality time.” All time with your kids — all time with anyone you love — is created equal. What you do with it is what makes it special. Not where. Or for how long. Or at what cost. Eating cereal together can be wonderful. Blowing off school for a fun day together can be wonderful—but so can the twenty minute drive in traffic to school. So can taking out the garbage or waiting in the McDonald’s drive-through.

Write it down and display it where you’ll see it often: there is no such thing as “quality time.” Cherish the “garbage time.” It’s the best kind of time there is.