What is time? What a stupid question. How are you supposed to answer that? Time is….well….time.
It’s something that we all wish we had more of. Something that there doesn’t seem to be enough of in a day to do everything that we want to do. We constantly complain that we don’t have enough time, yet we are always trying to find things to “pass the time.”
As children, we have no concept of time. Our parents were always trying to put us off using time. “5 more minutes.” – an answer that has a pretty good shot of shutting up a kid constantly asking “how much longer??” We didn’t really know what 5 more minutes meant, but it gave us a time frame. We knew that 5 more minutes wasn’t too much longer. We were always doing things to pass the time as children when we didn’t have any responsibilities. I watch my two year old son now, and I see the same thing. He doesn’t have anything that he absolutely HAS to do, except eat, sleep, take a bath, etc. Someone is always there to make sure he does those things. So what does he do? Spends his whole day passing the time in between those activities. Playing with his trucks, doing a puzzle, hanging out in his tent, drawing on his chalkboard, colouring, watching TV, looking through his books. Or best of all, cuddling with Mommy. His whole life consists of passing time. At two years old, he has all kinds of it.
As we get older, go to school, make friends, have fun in life, we start to find that when we are doing something we really don’t want to do, time tends to tick by much more slowly. One month of school sure does go by a lot slower than two months of summer, which fly by in the blink of an eye. Waiting for our Birthday, Christmas, all other exciting things to come seems to take forever. When the actual event gets here, it’s gone before you know it. This is how time tricks us.
I have spent the last week on vacation from my job. I’ll admit, we didn’t do much this past week. I got out a bit, met with some friends, Joe and I went for dinner to celebrate our anniversary (8 years), but we certainly didn’t break any records for excitement level. But that’s okay. I got to spend a whole week where I was at home with my son every day. I got to nap with him almost every afternoon. I got to go into his room and get him out of bed every morning. It has been heaven. And it has gone by so fast. I go back to work on Tuesday and I know it’s going to be tough on both of us because we’ve both been spoiled by each other this week.
When we get into high school, time goes fast. Post secondary goes even faster. Real life, jobs, marriage, adulthood, faster than one ever thought possible. Until the children come along. I thought time went by fast before, it’s nothing compared to now that I have a child. He is two and a half. The last two and a half years have passed at a rate so fast that it has scared me. I took a deep breath, and by the time I exhaled, here we are. Joe and I were looking at pictures this week of when he was a newborn, and the first year of his life. You don’t realize how much they change sometimes or how quickly they grow until you do this. Before I know it, he’ll be starting school…high school…college or university…moving out…getting married…okay, I’m starting to hyperventilate now. 🙂
It’s when you really think about time that you start to contemplate your own mortality. From the moment I took my first breath 33 years ago, I have literally been dying. I know it sounds awful, but it’s true. I don’t mean to sound morbid, but we all have a specified amount of time on this planet, in this life. Someday we will move on.
So what does that mean? We want to be remembered after we are gone, right? We want to leave our mark, make an impression. We want those that are left behind to not only remember us, but perhaps to live by lessons they have learned from us. So what do we do? We make the most of the time we have here. Live every day like it is our last. Look at everything that life hands us as an opportunity to learn something, to make a difference. Know that the smallest of actions can create a ripple effect and have huge ramifications. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Tell the truth. If you don’t know something, admit to it. It is a chance to find out the answers.
Take every moment and cherish it. It is yours, grab it and use it. Don’t find yourself trying to pass the time all the time. If you have time to pass, use it to do something you truly love. It doesn’t have to be going out and saving the world every time you have a spare ten minutes, it could mean picking up that paperback that has been sitting there for months that you have been meaning to read. Those saved episodes of Greys Anatomy that you haven’t been able to watch yet because your daughter has hockey on Thursday nights and you’ve been putting it off because you’re so exhausted at the end of the day that you just fall into bed instead of popping a bowl of popcorn and settling down to get caught up.
Do the things you want to do, as well as the things you have to do. Have no regrets. And please, please….tell the people that you love how much you love them. As often as you can. There’s no such thing as overkill in that department. It’s nice to feel loved, and it’s nice to know that if something were to happen, there are no questions, and no regrets regarding your feelings. There are no guarantees in this life. We literally can be here today and gone tomorrow. Instead of brushing him off, take the time to hang out in the tent with your kid. It only takes a few minutes, but it makes him so happy. Take a deep breath and try and find out why he’s whining and hanging off your leg instead of losing it even though you’ve had a crazy day and all you want is some peace and quiet. He doesn’t know how crazy your day was, he wasn’t sitting there when your boss came and dumped a pile of paperwork on your desk at 4pm. He just wants your attention. Wants you. Look into that sweet little crying face and squat down to his level, put your hands on his cheeks, give him a kiss and a hug and listen for a second. You’ll probably find out that he just wants his juice cup refilled.
Take a second and think twice about everything you say, and everything you do. It won’t take nearly as long as you might think, and you’ll have far fewer regrets.
Treat time as a gift. As currency. To be spent carefully. On what matters.
“A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.”
– Charles Darwin