October came and left before I could look up from the loads of research papers I’ve been reading. The pile I have gone through for my grad classes is truly epic, and the pile I have yet to go through is even bigger (sigh). But anyway, that’s not the point. The point is: Time, if you’re not paying attention, slips away quietly and quickly.
I’ve heard the concept that time is man-made, an illusion, something we need to transcend. So if time does not really exist, then what is it that slips by, occasionally causing us to panic that we’re quickly running out of it. Is it life that we’re afraid is flowing through our fingers like sand. Is it that we’re never really early or late, but we are where we need to be at the moment we need to be there? If time does not exist, what am I racing against, always at its heels yelling “Wait! I haven’t accomplished anything yet! Stop going so fast!”?
I’ve recently started wearing a good old fashioned wristwatch. Nothing fancy. Just something I can use because I don’t trust my phone after it decided to randomly switch to some other time zone making me late for everything I did that evening. And this weekend clocks in most of the U.S. get turned back 1 hour. All of a sudden 2 a.m. becomes 1 a.m. Why? Because it made some kind of sense to somebody (not me) and that’s just the way it’s done around here. All time really does is keep us in sync with each other so our interactions with one another can be forged around a common psychological construct.
So what is it that we feel is slipping away and why does it matter? We’re so caught up in this idea of time that we feel TIME = LIFE. We let time control our lives instead of letting our lives control our time. There has to be some sort of balance where we are just living our lives and not rushing to catch up with time. Time is useful, but should it really be ruling us the way it does? Is it not just a tool to help us meet each other, cross paths, synchronize? Yet when we’re not on a timetable, when we don’t have something that needs to get done within a certain time frame, we get bored, don’t know what to do with ourselves, with our time. You know, that way we feel by the second or third day of vacation.
Perhaps that’s an indication that this “time” nonsense has gone too far. We’re so dependent on it that, in those precious, precious moments when time doesn’t matter, we cease to matter. Time has become the master and our lives the willing servant. We’ve been trapped in timetables for so long that when there is no master to crack a whip behind us, we have forgotten that we can run free. Life can be lived without confines of deadlines, and as long as we decide to live every moment, every now, truly and with all we have to offer, we won’t stagnate. We don’t need deadlines to keep ourselves alive.
Here’s a thought: perhaps if we stop chasing it, time will stop running away from us.