“What’s the time?”
“What time do you want us there?”
“What time should we leave?”
“What time am I setting the alarm for tomorrow, love?”
“What time did you feed the cats?”
“I’d love to but I don’t have the time.”
“Ah I’m sorry, maybe we can catch up when we’ve a bit more time.”
“Got to dash!”
“Where can I find the time to do x, y z?”
These are just a handful of instances where time has cropped up in conversation over the past few days. The clocks went forward this morning and time has been on my mind a lot, as I try to balance home-life, a relationship, a more-than-full-time-job, friendships, family and my fledgling business: NurseryKnitsUK (see facebook / etsy).
When I first announced to my family and friends at our knit ‘n’ natter group that I was finally going to take the leap and start my little craft business, everyone started talking at once. Friends said “Oh that’s wonderful” but my Grandma looked aghast: “Where will you find the time?”
Honestly, if I had an order for every time that my time restrictions were brought up since that cold February evening, I’d be busy for months. I know my family are only concerned for my well-being but it got me annoyed and also got me thinking. At first I was resentful – why shouldn’t I follow a passion? Why shouldn’t I carve out time for me? But then I started to really evaluate the situation and ever since then I think I’ve been overly-alert to any mentions of time or time-related stresses and, reader, there have been a lot!
What is time?
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, time is a made up concept. Yes we have day and night, but what does it matter about all the hours and minutes in between? What is time’s function? I reckon they needed a unit by which to arrange logistics. It would be a disaster if soldiers turned up to battle a couple of hours too late. Logistically, time is needed. It also comes in pretty useful as far as our seasons go, too.
“WITHOUT LEAP YEARS, TODAY WOULD BE AUGUST ** 2017″
Yup, Easter in August would seem rather odd, wouldn’t it? Plus, it would have been sometime in July in February and the mercury was still at minus numbers then. Unseasonal!
Bur if time is a made up concept, surely it shouldn’t have any power over us? Right?
According to a quick Google for time quotes, not so. For one thing, we appear to be OBSESSED with time. Goodreads.com has a bank of significant quotations abut various topics and there are a staggering 4328 quotations about time. As a time-obsessed person myself, I have a Pinterest board called “Anti-Procrastination” (reader points to whoever gets the irony there) and so far I’ve pinned 109 items with titles like: “31 things you should stop doing, get rid of, and kick to the kerb to make your workday easier.” and “5 minutes to a more productive day”, and “20 quick tips for better time management”. If this isn’t evidence of the power of time then I don’t know what is.
So, let’s imagine for a moment that we are absolutely rushed off of our feet, with a to-do list longer than one of Severus Snape’s homework essays (just picture the parchment rolling across the floor and out of sight over the horizon and you’ve got it) and we’re desperate for a bit of help. You tap into Google and here’s what you get back: reams of wisdom from the likes of Ben Franklin, Mother Theresa, Einstein, Maya Angelou, Lao Tzu and many more. Brilliant! You think, rubbing your hands together in glee – I’m about to get the answers.
Here we have it, folks: instant affirmation of our fears. We were right to be stressed, we were right to panic – Ben Franklin himself tells us that time marches on and if we delay we’ll get left behind. We’ll miss our bus / train / moment / opportunity. Goodness me – let’s do something about this. If only we weren’t feeling so stressed. Let’s see what Buddha has to say – he’s associated with meditation and calmness and all things anti-stress – he’s sure to make us feel better and able to tackle our issues:
Yes, well, you see Buddha, I kind of did think I had the time to feel better but, erm, clearly I was mistaken. Right, so anti-stress is out of the window. What should I be doing?
Yup, that’s clear. I can get behind that. I’ll run the day. But how do I work out what I should be doing?
Roger that. I need to be working on important things. How do I know what’s important? What if I think something’s important and work on that but really it turns out to have not been that important then I’ve wasted my time and as I’ve discovered…
… and I don’t want to die sooner than I should have or have a short life because I’ve wasted time working on the things that aren’t important but seemed important at the time and now I’m really starting to feel stressed and wish I had the time to do that relaxation stuff that Buddha told me I didn’t have the time for. And I don’t want to waste time but where do I fit my husband into all this?
All the time – right. So where do I fit in work, and sleep, and everything else on my to do list? And spending time loving someone is great but what if they didn’t get as far as you did in the research into time and how to use it and are still back working on the “important things” for work?
My other half is working hard on his stuff which is important so now I should stop doing the full-time loving thing and not waste my time on him but focus on what’s truly important, which no one can seem to agree on other than to tell me that
So does that mean that whatever I choose to do is automatically the most important thing?
As you can see, time is somehing that everyone has something to say about but to be honest it seems that they aren’t really saying anything at all.
Having read through a dozen or so quotations, my head was spinning. I felt under more pressure to be using my time wisely and to get it right but I was completely lacking in wisdom as to what would be a wise use of my time. So now I’m pressured, and anxious and stressed and have discovered that, in trying to research how to use my time and getting absolutely no answers, I have shortened my life, wasted time (which hasn’t delayed) and now the day has not just run me but run out on me and it is almost midnight and about to be tomorrow.
A whole new day I’ve got to try and run and spend wisely doing the important things.