March 8 , 2019 /


From time to time, I think about time.  We use time as if it were a commodity, even talk about how we spend it.  The  sun, moon and stars are better keepers of time than we are and I believe the indigenous peoples were onto this long before we invented clocks and attempted to regulate time according to our needs and interests. My conclusion, along with a few others, is that time is a construct, an invention for our convenience. Most of our measuring, organizing, and even selling time contribute to our illusion of time as something real which we can see and manipulate. One day, every one of us will run out of time, literally, maybe step out gently, and we wiil come to the end of time as we know it.

How we experience the passing of time has been a subject of exploration and invention for centuries with various instruments put together to first see how the sun and moon, relative to the earth, moved from one day to the next. The earliest devices such as obelisks and sundials were not mechanical but mechanics gradually put pieces of machinery together until we had clocks and those were based on either 12 or 24 hour periods of time, periods of time, spaces from one period to the next. Soon people started measuring their days by hours and assigning various activities to certain hours such as work, home life and projects of all kinds with timelines and timetables. Scheduling time, keeping time and getting the trains to run on time became serious jobs.

Today, most computers, smart phones and calendars will tell you what time it is without your having to do anything but look and, if you forget to look, there are reminders in the form of bells, whistles and gongs. My calendar refers to those as “alerts” and I can set how much advance notice I want for an event of one kind or another. Those are to let you know what needs to be done or how much time you have before the next appointment or task. Or if you set a timer, it means time is up. Up? Expired, gone. Where did it go? The  name “alarm clock” should be banished. Why should it be an alarm which means “an anxious awareness of a danger” instead of “gentle wake up clock.” Yes, I know, they make those too, soft increasingly louder chimes.

Of interest to me personally is that we now have more choices about how we use a day, week or month than ever before, being free from work, growing children, and earning a living.  We have the luxury of this marvelous gift of time to use however we choose.  I used to find it somewhat amusing when someone said, “Sorry, I didn’t have time.”   One response, which I had to use carefully, was, “I didn’t know you had less time than anyone else.  Perhaps you chose something else.  It’s really about priorities and choices.”

It is not about time, nor how much nor how little. Rather, it’s about the choices that we make that fill up the space of an hour, a day, a week, a month or even a year. We can think of those five entities as spaces given to us to use as we wish, or in some cases, as others would like as well. In the end, what matters is whether we believe our investment of time has given us and others the benefits and rewards of time used well, and closer to the end, a life well-lived.  Once upon a time……and we write our own stories from time to time.  If you want to use a little more “time” here’s a 4 minute read that may amuse you a bit longer:


Comments (4)

  1. Nice post Gary! What a luxury indeed… you deciding how to spend your time, not someone else spending your time for you. Your post reminds me of the quote below.

    Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each.

    –Christopher Rice

    1. Thanks, Brye. Fortunately you have figured this out earlier than most people. I trust that many will find your blog sufficiently inspiring to consider capitalizing on the gift of time sooner rather than later. Hope I got that right. Thanks for sharing that great quote. I subscribe to that wholeheartedly. Best to you, K and H.

  2. Yes. The indigenous people did have ‘time’ figured out better than we perhaps ever will… maybe the reason that they had so much of the construct called time was because they had so few distractions?

    1. If we think our lives have too many distractions, then what are the steps we can take to eliminate the non-essentials? Meditation is certainly one available vehicle and others might include related activities such as focused concentration, immersion in a pursuit to the extent that all else disappears and there is that singular focus on that one activity be it writing, traveling, walking contemplatively which you do very well. Thanks for the comment and conversation.

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