Is One Lifetime Long Enough?
Do you have the time?
How often do you think about time? You want more time? More years added on to your life yet you want to hurry up and have everything done quicker right now? Time is like love- you can't see it, we think about it often, it consumes us, it drives us, and it's so valuable in one way or another to us. Nobody knows who or when any of us will fall in love or how or why any of us will have no more time left someday.
I pose this question to the person that thinks about time obsessively (I fall into this category), counts the minutes or thinks about life and how many minutes left of that as well. If you don't think about time, you live in a cave perhaps. I have a feeling by the time (no pun intended) you get done reading this you will be thinking and thankful of your time.
What does time mean to you? Recently, I had to ask myself this extremely important, yet overlooked, question. I just finished reading an interesting book. If this were truly a book review (which it is not), I'd give a C grade. The plot lacked, the writing was predictable, and many parts skipped forward awkwardly without direction. However, the book did not fail in one aspect- it made me think.
The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom is a book that does little for the reader at the time they are reading it and yet it does wonders for the reader (and the mind) after reading it. And...back to my question. More or less time to live the rest of your life? I know what you're thinking, it sounds quite obvious. Have I gone completely mad? The majority of us would answer, More time please! But now it's time (there's that word again) for me to make you think...
What is time?
Time dates back to 1500 B.C Egypt when the first methods to measure or track time were a T-square shaped device that measured the day's shadows and the water clock that was able to measure the hours. Then we got more sophisticated with sands in an hourglass.
However you want to measure it, time in general is without a distinct definition. Time could even be a figment of our imagination. Yes, we all use a system of measuring time, but not one definition fits time for everyone, everywhere. It's still arguable whether time is fixed or time is fluid. Whether you're discussing time with Sir Isaac Newton or Einstein, I would rather come to the agreement that time means something personal and different for everyone.
I constantly think about time throughout the day. Probably more than I think about anything else. Will I have enough time to do this or that? seems to be the constant chant in my brain. You can;t necessarily get (or buy) more time so we are given no more or no less than what is intended for us, yet is there a way to change time? YES!
We've been doing it for years now. I remember my first attempt at changing time- I took a "Time Management" course in junior college many years ago. If I could manage time, then certainly I could change time. Nope, the more time I managed to get with time-management the more time I needed, rendering it useless to have more time in the first place. Technology is another way in which we've tried to change or manage time any yet it's caused us to crave more.
However, I have found one way to change time. I will refer to kids as "time changers". When you have little kids, like I do, they have no patience so you feel as though you're flying by the seat of your pants at warp speed 24/7. Have you ever tried to do something fast enough for a baby who wants something NOW!?! Kids also have the ability to freeze time- you can get lost when you're playing in their world and time seems to stand still (or not matter). You can get lost in a moment while the years fly by. As most of us who have kids would agree, kids are a mixed blessing sometimes. I say that with love...
Another interesting thing happens when you have kids, you begin to think about how much of their life you will live to see. How much time do you have with them? Possibly their children? If you have more than one kid, there is never enough time for either and you realize the sheer deficit of time once again. Then you find yourself reliving one aspect of your youth in your child and suddenly you are transported back in time.
You get what you get and you don't throw a fit! That's exactly what I say to my young daughter when she is unhappy about something that is not a choice or I feel like she should be happy with what she has. The same advice could easily apply to my own life and to yours and my time in general. You or I don't know how much time we ultimately have and yet both of us are probably wishing there were more hours in a day or measuring time by accomplishments and failures instead of the sun rising and setting.
The longer you have the less you want
Could there possibly be a downside to having as much time or as long a life as you desire? Could you imagine living another lifetime while those you care about in this one pass on? Would you start all over, another family? Another career? Different hobbies? Live life with more feeling or less?
Let me refer to The Timekeeper book again. The premise of the book was loosely based on the story of Father Time and how he invented the first time keeping. He was so consumed with counting and tracking time that he did not enjoy or take time to savor his life, his wife, his children, etc. Of course this ancient fable of Father Time resembles people on earth today- consumed by the minutes, the hours, the days- consumed by time.
Time seems to be flying by us- we have more time than ever because of advances in technology and yet we waste more time than ever because of technology. Perhaps there will come a day when we feel almost no emotions because the moments are speeding by us so fast and we take no time to be in them or feel them.
Popular self-help books remind us to 'live in the moment', 'the power of now', 'awaken now'. What I've gathered from this theme is we should not want nor need more time if we are living a fulfilling life now.
What are the reasons someone would want more time? Think about this for yourself:
- Is there something left unsaid to somebody?
- Is there something you still want to do?
- Some place you still want to go or see?
- A regret?
- Are you spinning your wheels at something you don't want to do now?
- You didn't spend enough time doing what you wanted or being with whom you wanted
- You want to control the future...to be here to see it.
- Can we find a way to enjoy our time more?
- Have you found quality in your time? Rather than wishing for more, how are you spending what you have?
Time quotes in The Timekeeper
"Everything man does today to be efficient, it does not satisfy. It only makes him hungry t do more. Man wants to own his existence, but no one owns time."
"The very next moment may be an answer to your prayer."
"It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be".
"Speed now triumphs the quality of words. A fast send is more important than a sealed envelope containing carefully composed thoughts."
"The hands of a clock will find their way home."
- Helplessness; Unlearning The Habit That Holds You Back
Do you feel like you've lost control at work, home, kids, family, politics, health, finances? So who in the audience didn't raise their hands? OK, everybody can agree we've lost control in various aspects of our lives
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