“We have all the time in the world.”
… coined some person whose time in this world is now done.
Throughout life we are taught to practice two very different ideals: patience, and urgency. We are taught that we should go out and do things right now because the world is at our fingertips and we can have it all; but we are also taught that we can’t have it all at once. So many of the feelings that we have throughout life – examples being feelings of accomplishment, inadequacy, fervor, or stagnancy – are all intrinsically tied to the notion of time, in my opinion. We feel “accomplished” because we “were named MVP after just 2 years of making the high school basketball team”, or we feel “inadequate” because we “haven’t been promoted to the position we thought we would have been within our 2 years of employment”. We feel a certain “fervor” because we got “swept up in a feeling and lost all sense of time”, or we feel “stagnant” because we’ve been “stuck in a place where we don’t develop as individuals for a certain amount of time”. Even with words that we use multiple times daily, like “now”, “always”, and “never” … it’s not even that they’re so interwoven into the concept of time, it’s that they can’t even exist without it. And yet, there is no universal understanding of time, we only have our countless theories on it.
What is time, really? What is this inexplicable, undefinable, immeasurable-and-yet-we-use-it-to-measure-everything “thing” that makes us feel so limited and so limitless all at the same “time” (lol)? Sadly, I’m not here to draw any profound conclusions. I’m only here to provoke thought and remind both you and I, that I am just as bewildered by the notion of it as the next person.
By definition, “time” is:
1. the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.
2. a point of time as measured in hours and minutes past midnight or noon.
Isn’t #1 so beautifully abstract and open-ended that it drives you absolutely insane? It is to me. When I think about my time on this earth (or lack thereof), I am reminded to treat it with the respect and care that it deserves, and to guard it fiercely. People always say “Invest your time wisely, it’s the only thing you can’t ever get back. I also then so often become overwhelmed with an impulsiveness to get it all done now, because once it runs out, that’s it. But then where does the balance come from? How do we counter that impulsiveness by doing the opposite, that is also in the interest of respecting our own time – how do we properly take our time? How do we learn to slow down, be entirely present, and simply exist within our surroundings?
Apparently patience and a sense of urgency are not mutually exclusive. There is, as with anything in life, a balance between the two, and the two can co-exist harmoniously. But what a notion that is to wrap your mind around.
I often sit and reminisce about all the nights I spent drinking my liver into oblivion with friends instead of in my apartment working away to build the life of my dreams, and I can’t help but be faced with the idea of “wasted time” … but they also say that “Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.” I also sometimes think about all the potential loves that have come and gone because “it wasn’t our time”, the impulsiveness I’ve felt with some and the patience I’ve had to learn with others. No matter where my thoughts lead me – into the past, the present, or the future – I find I am often left at the mercy of this thing … this “time”, as we all are.
I then begin to feel so small because I remember, in my feeble attempts to wrap this human brain around the concept of time, that we probably aren’t meant to fully understand it in this life. And then I begin to feel so grand because if we aren’t meant to understand it in this life then there must be a “knowing” or “understanding” that comes after this life … right?
Even as I write this blog entry I’m thinking about how I’ve spent so much time trying to wrap my head around “time” (this happens often), saying the same things I always do, just finding new ways to say them. That’s the interesting thing about time. Regardless of how much we can say or talk about it, we always end up in the same place when we discuss it. There is always only ONE thing we “figure out”, and that is that we really know nothing about it.
All we really know … is now. And now …
… I’ve run out of time. 😉
Ain’t that somethin’. Have a great night!