on time

Time is a funny thing, and I don’t necessarily mean humorous. 

It sneaks up on you, surprises you and shouts, “gotcha!”

Time, you little trickster, quit doing that!

Yes, we have many expressions for the way we feel about time. It flies. It marches on. Sometimes it stands still. 

Doctor Who calls it “A big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff,” as if that makes any sense at all. Guess it’s a Time Lord thing.

What I find funny, or rather amusing, about time is how very predictable it is and yet how often we are caught off guard by its passing.

A younger version of me used to view time as an enemy. Sometimes he, I mean I, still do, ahem, does. Man this time thing can get confusing fast.

But time is not the enemy, it’s a resource. An extremely valuable one at that. Since time travel does not, to my knowledge, exist (ok, so perhaps it does, but we’re all traveling forward at basically the same rate), we can’t get back the time which has passed. Our time is limited and passing. This is both a problem and a challenge.

Come to think of it, this very well may be my first major misunderstanding: thinking time somehow belongs to me. I act as if I’m owed a certain amount of time just like a paycheck for services rendered.

But no child, woman, or man owns time. Except maybe Gandalf, who claims a wizard is never early or late but arrives precisely when he means to. Sounds to me like someone’s playing fast and lose with the space-time continuum.

Since I’m neither a Time Lord nor Gandalf, all I can do is be thankful for the time I’m allowed. 

The philosopher Heraclitus saw time as a river, which always changes. He made the observation that you could never step in the same river twice. Clearly he ripped that straight off of Disney’s Pocahontas. 

In his own words:

“Everything changes and nothing stands still.”
“You could not step twice into the same river.”

As I see it, time is something we must aim to use wisely and well, before it slips away. The river flows on whether or not you dip your feet in it. Sometimes it carries you away.

We can become so anxious about time that we become obsessed with it, making frantic attempts to stem its flow. This is where FOMO, or fear of missing out, comes from. We feel the need to keep up with everything all the time. But instead of using it with the powerful and direct force of a firehose it’s more like a bucket we’re sloshing about, all the while just dampening the ground a bit.

I’ll admit, I can become so concerned with all the things I might possibly miss out on that I don’t really commit fully to anything. No bueno.

I’ve found the better and more helpful attitude is, now or never.

If I can’t commit to a thing now or at least dedicate a specific time to it, then the thing may very well never ever get done. Yes, it sounds a touch dramatic, but think of all the stuff you’ve truly intended to do “someday” but never even started. There is no such thing as someday.

As creatives, we must be people of the moment, employing and enjoying the time we’re living, right now, in the immediate present. Because, whether we use it or not, the time will vanish like water on a hot desert road.

Hey, who’s thirsty?

 

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”
~ Heraclitus

A.P. Lambert

A.P. Lambert is a creative professional who helps others live with creativity and purpose.