Maybe it’s because my son turned eight today or perhaps it’s because we’re getting to the end of another quick year, but I feel the need to review TIME. We have a chequered history, from running out of time, never having enough, not appreciating or taking the time. It used to last forever but since I turned 30 it’s sped up. Here are my main issues with time:
THE SPEED OF TIME
The children I work with will tell me they did something “ages and ages ago” only for me to find that it happened two days ago. They appreciate the simple things along with the big, which in turn creates multi-dimensional days of highs and lows and an assortment of experiences. Those jam-packed days allow them to make the most of the time they’ve been given. Adults are on an ever-moving rollercoaster – sleep, work, chores, family commitments, chores, sleep and then all over again. We speed up the midweek to get to the weekend. It’s a countdown. No wonder our time goes faster! In a year of 365 days, there are 104 weekend days. This means that there are 261 midweek days that we try to fast forward. Factor in the Sundays where many people are depressed at the thought of going back to work and it paints a bleak picture of how we use our time. No wonder time runs away from us.
I love holidays – I take in new experiences and places. So much has happened to me in the fortnight but back home I’m surprised everything has stayed the same! I think this is the closest to how a child’s relationship is with time – it’s stuffed full of new exciting things and there’s ‘enough’. Perhaps we need to stop blaming time for speeding up and just slow down to appreciate and find interest in the moment. Find ‘enough’ in the time we have – not be pre-occupied with an imagined better future.
MAKING TIME FOR THE IMPORTANT STUFF
We often have so many work/study/family commitments that it’s difficult to fit it all in. It’s true that there are just not enough hours in the day for many people. Prioritising is perhaps a way of tackling this. What’s more important, watching tv or spending time with the family? Reading/writing or sleep? A fancy car or a few hours a week more free-time? It’s easy for me to say, but I know some people don’t have many options. They’re doing the best they can with the time they have. I’ve recently been struggling to make the time for anything other than work and college coursework. I’ve no words of wisdom, only that hopefully “this too shall pass.”
THE LAST TIME
Perhaps the most heart-breaking of all is ‘The Last Time’. The sad thing about the last time is that you rarely know it is. Even if you do, you don’t know how you’ll feel when it’s gone. Here are a few of my last times:
- The last time my son sat on my knee drinking his milk from a baby bottle.
- The last time I was in a nightclub and didn’t feel old.
- The last time I saw my granny.
- The last time I didn’t have responsibility for anyone else.
- The last time I saw Fiona and was abrupt to her. She was 36 and died suddenly a few days later.
- The last time I kissed another man (not knowing the next would be my husband).
- The last time my tiny son snuggled in my arms.
At the time, you feel as though things will be the same forever. Then one day you blink and everything has changed. A group of four ’60 somethings’ I know used to holiday in Florida every year. In the space of a year, two died and now a third is terminally ill. This is how quickly and unexpected ‘The Last Time’ can come.
This is the first time I’ve sat down and given much time to the concept of time. Now that I’ve analysed it in more depth, here is my conclusion:
- If I could bottle up certain times, I would. But I can’t, so I won’t. Instead I’ll make the most of the moments when they happen. I’ll stop and smell the roses.
- I’ll try to stop wishing my life away for weekends or special events. Instead I’ll appreciate the now. If I’m stuck in a car for hours I’ll listen to my favourite tunes. When ironing (I hate ironing) I’ll put on a box set or watch an inspiring documentary. I’ll try to find ‘enough’ in the time I have – even the boring times.
- I’ll prioritise my time when possible to ensure I’m spending time on things and people I love.
- The last time – well, we rarely know when it is. I’ll just have to make the most of every moment then, won’t I?