Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some Thoughts About Time

Today is Tuesday, October 1, 2013. 

"Time is free, but it's priceless.  You can't own it, but you can use it.  You can't keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you've lost it, you can never get it back."   –Harvey MacKay

Harvey Mackay is a businessman and columnist. He is the author of five business bestsellers, including Swim With the Sharks, Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt and Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty.  He sounds like a very smart man.

Physicists are starting to agree with teachers of ancient spiritual traditions: time and space may simply be illusions, or anyway, only an approximation that we can wrap our minds around of what's really going on.  Maybe we don't really want to know what's going on. Who knows? 

But if time is an illusion, it sure is a powerful one.  When we speak of time, what we really mean is presence in a physical body.  It may be that once we throw off the physical body, there is no need for the constraints of time.  A friend of mine died a couple of years ago at the age of 62.  I'm 60 now, and I occasionally think, "Gee, I hope I will get more time here than she did."   

In a recent blog entry, I explained that when I was 15, I had one of those "Soul moments" where I realized that I had only a limited amount of time on this earth, and that I didn't want to spend too much of it putting on make up.  It seems petty, perhaps, until you realize how much time some women spend putting on make up.  Anyway, I just thought that I had better uses for my time.  

I have spent a lot of time in this life reading, listening to music, and thinking.   I have not spent much time, relatively speaking, putting on make up, cleaning house, or cooking.  

I have spent more time than I wanted to waiting at bus stops, which is why I finally learned to drive in my late 40s.  Now I love  how much stuff I can get done in a small amount of time.

When I was teaching in the pubic schools, time was measured in increments as small as five minutes.  In kindergarten, you can only spend 10 to 15 minutes on one particular activity before the kids get bored and out of control.  In high school, passing time in the halls is generally only about five minutes.  I'm still in awe of what I could get done in those small amounts of time.

In the time it takes for a third grader just learning cursive to sign his or her name, I can type a couple of long paragraphs, or several short ones.  In the time it takes me to write one of these blogs can take only a few minutes or almost all day, depending on how much research I have to do or how much organization of information is required.  

Each evening before I go to bed, I review my calendar for the following day, and I sometimes make a list of things to do, such as a shopping list, a housework list, or an errand list (pay bills, mail letters, call so-and-so, etc.)  Each morning, as I enjoy my coffee, I check email, the weather, the news and Facebook.  Sometimes I can do all of this in about ten minutes.  Other times, I look up the clock and wonder how it is that two hours have passed.

I often end up altering my plan for the day.  Something crops up and suddenly, I don't have time to do one or two of the things on my list.  I have to make time somehow or put the activities off until the following day.  

I try not to think too much about the fact that I'm not getting back any of the time I've already spent.  Was it a waste of time to daydream?  To listen to music?  To read a trashy novel?  Was my time really well spent cleaning the toilet?  Doing the laundry?  Going to the local mall when I didn't really need anything?   Was it a waste of my time to wait for the doctor to see me?  To wait for the bus?  Was my time well spent laughing with friends, holding someone's baby, or playing with my cat?

If there's really no such thing as time, I guess I won't have to worry about being rushed when I get to heaven and start to review my life.  That's supposed to occur in a flash, anyway.  :-)

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