#5: Keeping Time
“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”
― Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper
It's pervasive, insidious, overbearing, and overwhelming.
This fear is one I can rely on to be present every single day. It's become my seemingly sole certainty
Someone once told me they didn't believe in time (ironically, they still showed up at our decided meeting time). True, it really is a human arbitrary construct.
Time is important, there's no denying that. It allows us to set points of reference, to make sure we see or do things we want to.
It also enslaves us. I think now more than ever, we're under this unwavering weight to accomplish things by socially decided deadlines. If you're falling behind, what are you doing? What a waste of your time.
Of course the concept of time is valuable. We need it to set goals, to be independent, to support ourselves.
We (I) spend so much of this precious time panicking about how fleeting it is, that by its end, I worry I'll have spent most of it thinking about how I wasn't but should have been spending it.
Doesn't seem practical, no?
Keeping time isn't so bad. lt's essential to being autonomous and healthy, but I've realized that I also need to appreciate the brief interludes that are sprinkled throughout the day. Having some time to read a book, taking a shower (!), playing with my dog (a given), walking to the library, far too brief conversations with friends.
I'm learning to appreciate that I even have the ability to spend hours a day studying. Time that feels bland and banal.
Having this time means I have the support and means to not have to work right now, so I can fulfill my goals.
Instead of fearing time, fearing its demise, I'm seeing that I live a life that allows me to dictate the use of my time. So no, I'm not always going to have the time to do everything I'd like, but I did that.
So I think I shouldn't be scared of time being used up since I'm spending it exactly how I want, can, and need. Right?