“All I need is time, and you can’t buy time.” This was said to me today in my grandmothers hospital room. She is 94 and well aware that time is precious for her. We want to believe that she has many more years, and maybe she does, but maybe she doesn’t. It is harder to believe you do when you are 94 and looking at major changes in health and lifestyle. So we smiled a little, but the moment was bittersweet, because there was such honesty behind it.
- It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the pale new growth on an evergreen, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live. Unless you know there is a clock ticking.–Anna Quindlen (A Short Guide to a Happy Life)
We have all watched time slip away on something. A child growing up and moving out on their own. We watch those precious days of them under our roof, knowing that will end. We have been in school knowing graduation was coming and life would change. We have watched marriages end, the clock ticking as we made our plans. We have watched friends move away, each day bringing them closer to being gone. We have watched loved ones die, each moment precious and never to be recovered. We have lain in bed with our lover on a cold morning knowing the world was calling and the moment of separation was at hand. We have watched time slip away over and over again. That is the way of life. Time moves forward.
So what could be more precious than the moment at hand? Never to be recovered or to be repeated. How am I honoring these moments, these hours, these days? Am I spending them as well as I can. Am I throwing away time? Do I recognize its value?
I have a job that I do not love, I also do not hate it. But 40 hours of every week are assigned to being there. What I know is the job is honorable, productive and serves a greater purpose in the world. It also affords me the means to be independent and self sufficient. Since I have to be there I can look for the good in how spend my time. I am surrounded by co workers and each one is an opportunity to make a connection. To see a greater truth about why we are there. To find some joy and laughter in the day. To be of support when someone needs a shoulder. Is this easy? No. Do I fail? Yes. Do I keep trying? Yes. Because I am spending my time there and my time is valuable and I don’t want to waste my days. I cannot replace them.
Beyond that, how am spending my time? Can I lay down at night and feel I had a good day, a worthwhile day? Can I look back at last week and think I spent my time with those I love? Can I see that I spend time in joy? Did I learn, did I grow? Did I give back as much as I received?
Can I recognize what does not feed my soul and leave it behind? Can I say to myself this person, this situation, does not honor my time and let it go? Can I do that without guilt? Can I honest and gentle and still put myself and my time first? Time is too valuable, I need to choose wisely. Not one moment can ever be given back.
Because for me time wasted is not about a Netflix marathon. If I am happy and enjoying myself whatever I am doing is not time wasted. Time wasted is spending my time in distress, in unhappiness, being uncomfortable. Those are the conditions I do not want to lay down with at night. Those are the things where I can say “this is not bringing value to my life” and move away from them. I know it is easier said than done. But I can try, I can start the process. I can refuse to support situations that are not for my greater good.
Because I want to be 94 and still looking for more time. I want time to have time served me so well that I am greedy for more. I want a life well lived, and I know that is up to me. Everyday when I awaken I get to choose how I spend my time. Maybe not where I spend my time, but how. Because whether I am at work, lounging around, sharing time with loved ones, stuck in traffic or standing in line at the store I still get to choose the quality of that time. Those are still my moments and they are equal in value. Some are teaching moments, some are learning moments, some are simply bliss, and they are all mine. And sometimes it is as simple I am choosing to be happy in this moment.
So all of our clocks are ticking. I am trusting I have a grandmother clock which will last a long time. But if I have not spent my time well it doesn’t matter how long I have. And if I have, I guess it doesn’t really matter either. At the end of the day time is kind of an illusion we use to mark our days. The truth what we really have is right now, this moment. The past is gone, the future an unknown, but this moment, this moment is here. You have this time right now…..spend it wisely.
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