In fact, where has the last decade gone?
It’s just flown by, even though I’ve tried to borrow it, waste it, make it, speed it up, slow it down or kill it.
After all these years, however, I've given up trying to manage it. Heck, most of the time I don’t even know what day it is.
How I lost track of time
I stopped wearing a watch more than 10 years ago; I don’t need one, as there’s a clock on my mobile phone, laptop, in my car, at train stations and at work.
I’ve also stopped being a clock watcher, which explains why I keep losing track of time and am invariably running late for meetings or appointments.
But what’s the rush?
Instead of slowing down, life has sped up and we’ve become slaves to time: we’ve got endless deadlines, appointments, meetings, mortgage payments, rent, anniversaries, schedules, goals, birthdays, Christmas and so on.
(Note to self: remember to send out Christmas cards).
As a result, or because of this, we’ve created standards around time to coordinate our lives and stay on track.
Let’s face it, using a calendar or diary is a practical convenience. I rely on it to remind me of things to do, where to go, who to see and when; only because I forget.
It’s especially useful as it tells me what day it is.
Even so, I regularly stop and ask myself throughout the day: so what day is it today?
Let me check my diary
As I’m about to buy myself a new diary for 2012, I’m worried about cramming too many activities into it; the last page of my 2011 dairy already has a growing list of events waiting to be transferred into the new one.
“How about coffee next week? I can fit you in on Tuesday at 10.30am.”
“No, that day’s already full. I’m free the following Friday, if that works for you.”
“I don’t have any free time that week. What’s your schedule like in January?”
The Free Online Dictionary defines time as: the continuous passage of existence in which events pass from a state of potentiality in the future, through the present, to a state of finality in the past.
We also use time to refer to:
- A sufficient interval or period - do you have time to help me?
- An instance or occasion - I called you three times.
- An occasion or period of specified quality - have a good time.
- The heyday of human life - in her time she was a great singer.
- A suitable period or moment - it's time I told you.
- An important moment, such as childbirth or death - her time had come.
Despite its abstract nature, however, we’ve created a range of expressions to indicate the importance, availability or lack of this unseen dimension:
Top 10 expressions about time
1. Time poor – the latest buzz word, meaning we have limited time available.
2. Time is money - time is a valuable commodity.
3. Waste of time - doing something pointless or useless.
4. Time off - to take a holiday from work.
5. Time flies – time passes quickly.
6. Kill time - do something that isn’t very interesting or important to pass time.
7. Live on borrowed time – to live dangerously.
8. Too much time on your hands - too much free time and not enough things to do.
9. In the nick of time - at the last possible moment.
10. Time management – involves managing goals, tasks, prioritising, using calendars and managing procrastination.
Do you see the contradictions?
How can we have too much of it and not enough?
If time is continuous, how can it run out or be wasted?
How can we manage something that’s supposed to be an illusion?
Stop! Time out: my head hurts.
Time is a matter of perception; what I see as a waste of time might be considered valuable by someone else. I think time flies, while you think time’s ticking slowly.
It’s all relative. (If you need more time to digest this, you can read about Newton’s and Einstein’s theories here).
Once upon a time, I wore a watch. I was organised, I had goals and strategic plans. I knew what day it was and kept an eye on the time.
I also worried about the future and mulled over the past.
Then my life fell apart and I lost my focus.
I’ve become highly unstructured, slightly disorganised and have totally lost track of time.
As a result, I’m practicing being in the moment and going with the flow.
What I’ve discovered is that focusing in the present creates a sense of timelessness: being independent of time or unaffected by it.
It’s the same experience you get when you’re totally absorbed by doing something you love, such as painting, drawing, writing, gardening or walking along the beach.
According to spiritual teacher Jennifer Hoffman, timelessness isn't about getting rid of time or the concept of time. She says it’s about shifting our focus from time to outcome, from timing and how long things take to manifest, to being in the flow.
Of course, this requires trust and faith that things will turn out for the best at the right time. In the meantime, keep breathing and enjoy each moment.
What day is it today? It’s a great day!
Postscript: When it’s time for me to leave this earthly existence, I’ll call my last blog The Time of my Life, or perhaps, A Whale of a Time. All in good time, of course.