I have been musing about the concept of TIME for a while now. It is elusive and intangible—you can’t hold it in your hand—but yet it is concrete and measurable. We say: use your time wisely; time for lunch; time for recess; time for bed; time flies; time stands still; time out; think time; wait time. We want time to go by quickly so we can heal from our sickness; we want time to go by slowly so that we can enjoy our kids longer. We think about “when was the last time we…,” or when is this concert ever going to start, or when is class going to be over!
We wish we had more time after age 50, because then we have fewer years ahead of us than behind us to do everything we want to do with our lives. We might wish we had spent more time with our spouse—perhaps the marriage wouldn’t have ended in divorce. We wish time wouldn’t rob us of our faculties as we age. We can’t believe our child is 16 and it’s time for her/him to drive. We wish we didn’t have to work overtime. We need time to grieve the loss of loved ones.
Some cultures are on a time schedule which is more social, and some are more punctual. Some people procrastinate while others plunge right in to meet the deadline. We are timed when we take tests or run races. I remember hearing a sad story about someone who said, “If I had only braided my hair instead of combed it” or “If I had only run one more errand”—something to the effect that if only more time had elapsed—she could have avoided the automobile accident. A split second could have changed her life.
In one graduate class, I was bombarded by this concept of time again. I thought of our discussions on premature infants and how their lives would have been impacted differently if they had been in the womb a little longer. When we shared memories of babies or pregnancies, it was evident some classmates spent more time in labor. The goal was the same (!), but the time necessary for the accomplishment varied. I thought about babies put up for adoption, and pondered whether it would have made any difference to the parents releasing their parental rights if they had had the child earlier or later in their life, or at a different point in time.
Time is perceived in an individual manner as fleeting or crawling or actual or stationary, depending on what the person is doing. For instance, if you are waiting to see the dentist or doctor, you feel like you are waiting FOREVER. If you are tending to a hobby, you feel there is never enough time to “play.”
Time to go…