Just on time.

We pretend we have time. We want more time. Time for ourselves, time for our family, time to do the things we want to do. We wonder where other’s find the time to accomplish things we wish we could… if we only had the time. We speak about time like it is money, to be saved and spent, invested and squandered.

It is apparent, no one has time. We make time. We have to prioritize so that we get value from our time. We must always be diligent about ways to save our time so that we can do the things that bring us value in life.

When you are young, you have time… perhaps too much time. Or the illusion of such. You think because you have time you are free to be lazy with it. In retrospect, you don’t think it was time spent being lazy, you just wish you could have appreciated it as if there is shelf life to experience.

I am reminded of this when I see old friends. The ones who you rarely see more than once a year. You maybe have 2 or 3 hours together. Just being in the same room, seeing how they aged, how you aged, all the history you have, how they changed completely while staying exactly the same. The glimpses of the person you knew your whole life, how you are all 16 again when you are laughing. How that never gets old.

You always say the same things, especially as you get older. “I wish we had the time, do you remember the time, how about that time… I wish we had more time together.”

Many don’t make it past this sentiment. But we realize, as we age, just how precious our time is. Just how quickly it moves. Just how elusive it is. Like trying to hold a handful of sand, the harder we squeeze the quicker it seems to drain out.

The holidays make us aware of this. The build up to Christmas makes up the bulk of the holiday experience… the two days themselves fly in a strange blur of sugar and wrapping paper.

It seems that we are always here. In this place between our thoughts, anticipations and whatever judgement we are broadcasting on ourselves and others.

All the cliches are chillingly true about time, especially with children. In an instant, you wake up and they are completely different. We wonder where the years went, what happened to them, what happened to us? Where did the time go? Did we miss something? Will we continue to feel this sense of loss and emptiness when we realize just how much time has passed?

Time moves, but the feeling of experience seems so static, even stagnant at times. We still feel like teenagers, we still remember our first love, the first time we were hurt, how excited we were when the phone rang and her name was on the screen, getting the job, losing the game, the ridiculous way we viewed the world when we were 11, the concerns, obligations, ambitions we had at the various points in our life. We watch as they transform with us, but the feeling of being is always carried with it.

We look at the young ones and curse them for wasting their time on worrying about what others think, staring into their phones, not studying harder, not being more productive, or worse, not enjoying themselves as much as they should. We often blame the young for not doing the things we were never able to do until we developed the wisdom of age, when we realized the majority of our concerns were completely absurd, based on unfounded fears and ridiculous expectations of ourselves and others. It shouldn’t be a paradox, it should be a call to action about what is valuable in your life.  

We fool ourselves into thinking that we have any other time than right now. It is always now. It is never not now. We experience the past and future right now. We can make plans, but we must execute them now.

If we are only certain of one thing it is that one day we will be out of time. We will want to trade everything for just one more day, one more hour one more minute, one more second with the ones we love.

When you realize that spending time is a matter of paying attention, you can focus your attention, not on the endless stream of judgements, concerns, worries and fantasies that riddle the mind, but on doing what you are doing right now, and not worrying about what you did or what you will do. The best use of time is when you are not realizing it is being spent or saved.

Journaling can help you to manage the way you spend your time. Meditation can help you to be more mindful of the moment right now. But simply stopping, taking a moment to pause and realize where you are in time and space, that is a super power in this rushed world of flickering attention.

You know that one day things will be different and whatever your concerns are now will be transformed into something different, but when you look back and you fend off the flood of nostalgia, will you be able to say that you stopped, and you were present when all these beautiful things were happening? What does it mean to be present? How about not being lost in thought? How about not grasping or pushing anything away and just experiencing things right now?

We don’t have time, we make time. Always aim to be present during this time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Matthew CriscuolaComment