Our Relationship With Time

Time is the great equaliser.

We all have access to 24 hours in any given day. No one gets more and no one gets less.

Time is its own master. It marches to its own beat, relentlessly, impervious to anyone’s wishes.

Even though time is completely neutral, our relationship with time is an entirely individual and subjective experience. Not only does it differs for each person, our subjective experience of time also changes from moment to moment.

Take a moment to stop now and reflect on your relationship with time.

  • Is time your friend or enemy?
  • Do you wish that time will speeds up or slow down?
  • Do you feel that you do not have enough time, or you have too much time on your hands?
  • Do you feel anxious when you think about time, or are you at peace with time?
  • Are you from the ‘good old days’ or from the ‘one day isle’ (aka ‘one day I will’) school of time?

One of the insights that I have about time recently which made me laugh was the realisation that I remembered being told how I was ‘too young’ and then that I am ‘too old’. When was I ever the ‘right’ age, as defined by our society?

Similarly, when it comes to parenting, most people who intend to have children will have a view about when is the ‘right’ time for them.

Another insight that I had was around dying. When someone young(er) dies, we tend to view it as a tragedy and regret the foregone opportunities and life wasted. When someone dies of old age, amidst the grief and longing of their loved ones, there will also be a sense of okay-ness about it because he/she has had a good and long life.

When we are young(er), we tend to have a positive bias and assume that time is on our side. That there will be plenty of time to do the things that we want to do. To live a full life. When we read or hear about deaths, we think that the same risks does not apply to us. We are different. We are young. We assume that we have our whole lives ahead of us.

But, if you disregard factors relating to old age, assuming that the old(er) and young(er) person both undertake similar activities (and are therefore exposed to the same level of risks), then shouldn’t the probability of death for both persons be the same? To put it bluntly, both persons have an equal chance of dying on any given day. If we push the concept further, it means that I, and the people that are dearest to me, have an equal chance of dying (relatively speaking) whether it is today, tomorrow, next week, or in the next decade.

Therein lies the illusion of time.

Every moment is as valuable as the next moment. Time leaves no man (or woman) behind. Past or future is but conceptual. The past is totally irrelevant as you can never change the past. The future is not here yet.

The only moment that matters is the present moment. The choices that are made at any present moment will shape and influence future moments, individually and collectively.

Let’s live every day as if it is our last day on earth. Tell our loved ones every day that we love them. Don’t hold on to grudges. Don’t get stuck in the past and never put off living until the future. Stop procrastination. Stop worrying.

There is no ‘right’ moment, there is only one moment – the Now.

Time is a gift.  Befriend it.