This post is about Steven Adler, the original drummer of Guns N’ Roses, but in order to speak about what life lesson we can learn from Adler, I first need to mention the band Skid Row.
The Skid Row song “Wasted Time” was written in 1991 by Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach, but what the song is about may surprise you. Guns N’ Roses dismissed Adler from the band for alleged declining performance secondary to drug addiction. And Adler has been open, especially in his book My Appetite for Destruction, about his battle with drugs and alcohol. In the song “Wasted Time” Bach asks if Steven Adler feels that his time spent with Guns was wasted time, especially since the drummer's departure from the band was messy.
Clearly, no one can answer that question except for Steven, but exploring the concept esoterically, I will say that nothing we do in this life is meant to be viewed as wasted time. Even those situations that don’t work out in our favor are not meant to be viewed as a waste of time because the universe, God, or whatever name you want to ascribe to that energy, always has our back and puts us in situations that are meant for our personal growth. When we go through challenging situations, no matter how painful, we are meant to take lessons from those and apply them to our lives moving forward. The goal is to apply those lessons in the future, so that we don't end up in cyclical patterns of repeating the same mistakes over and over and over that ultimately keep us stuck.
Let’s use romantic relationships as an example and pretend that you dated someone for five years only to learn that he or she was deceptive…lied, cheated, stole money, etc., which has really hurt you. It may be your natural reaction to say to yourself, “That's five years of my life that I’ll never get back. I wasted all that time with someone who didn’t respect me and ultimately betrayed me. I could have been out there exploring other options instead of being loyal to a deceptive person.”
But I urge you not to perceive any situation that way because you were meant to spend that time with that person, in the capacity that you did. Then when that situation didn't work out, that was meant for you to look at yourself and to do a self-assessment.
If you find yourself in similar circumstances in the future, the questions to ask yourself are:
· What were the major issues in the relationship, and when did they start?
· Were the red flags there when I first met that person, and did I choose to ignore the warning signs?
· What did I contribute to the failure of the relationship? What sort of habits or traits do I have that impede my ability to be a better partner?
· What shortcomings did my partner point out to me, but that I neglected to acknowledge and improve?
Let’s now imagine that your ex-partner said that you lack compassion and empathy, but you know in your deepest core that this is not a true statement about your nature, then this may be a shortcoming of your ex-partner’s that he or she is projecting onto you. You need to be able to recognize the difference between what’s your “stuff” and what isn’t, so that you are not burdened by carrying issues that aren’t yours in the first place. Conversely, let’s say that your friends, family, and colleagues have commented that you lack compassion, then this is something you need to explore. If you believe yourself to be a compassionate person, then perhaps look at how you express compassion. Are you reserved in your expression of empathy? Do you have a detached or standoffish persona? Do you avoid emotional conversations, or do you have difficulty expressing emotions in general? Are you able to identify and express vulnerability? If these are sticking points for you, then this is something that needs to be addressed.
Nothing is wasted time in this life. Nothing. And viewing situations as such will keep you on the hamster wheel where you will not be able to move forward, which means that you’re living unconsciously and without intention. Frankly, you deserve more from yourself.