Posted by: faultlessfinish | July 25, 2011

Active vs. Passive Time

As an editor, I often have to deal with the concept of active and passive voice. For example, compare the following sentences: “I had a relaxing weekend” vs. “The weekend I had was relaxing.” While the passive voice is acceptable in certain contexts (I’m sure I’ll use it many times in this post), most people would rather read sentences in the active voice. The active voice is more engaging – it takes command. You’re bored already, I know. Sorry, grammar lesson is over.

Anyway, this concept once again got me thinking about time – one of my favourite topics, as you can see in many of my blog posts. The other evening, after a particularly long day of work, I was lying on my couch wondering how to relax and unwind. “Should I go out with friends? Do some writing? Go for a run?” In reality, I was perfectly content to just lie there and veg out for a bit, but the longer I just sat there and did nothing, the guiltier I felt for “wasting my time.” I thought, “You are spending your time passively.”

Then I was reminded (passive voice!) of what I learned while on my beach vacation: it’s OK to just be, to relax without an agenda. Suddenly, I felt as though my leisure time had shifted from passive to active. Rather than lying on the couch thinking I was wasting my time, I was lying on my couch relishing every second of not doing anything.

Our minds are powerful beyond belief. One thought can determine moods, actions, and reactions. There are several cliché quotations regarding this idea, but I’m not going to bother with that. Instead, I challenge you to change your passive thoughts into active thoughts. When you work, work mindfully; when you play, play mindfully. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than savouring free time after putting in a solid effort at work I enjoy – editing and writing (and learning grammar – hey, I didn’t say I wasn’t a nerd).

Make the most of your time, whatever you may be doing with it. It’s precious and we don’t have much of it.

Namaste 🙂


  1. And in writing… Aritha wants us to ban the use of “to be” from all our writing. Help, Editor! (I relaxed during the weekend.)

  2. Ensuring that the couch maintains it’s current position inside of a room is a great way to wind down. There is no type of winding down that ever is a waste.

  3. What? Bored? No way, I love the grammer lessons – keep’em coming!!

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