There’s nothing like a high school reunion to make you think about time. You put hundreds of hormone driven teenagers together in a Petri dish for four years, then give them a cap and gown and set them free. Add time. Then periodically bring them back together to see what’s happened. My 35th is around the corner and I’m wondering what happened to the time!
Time is such an interesting concept. I mean, I understand that we measure time based on the cycles of the earth, but it’s an arbitrary assignment…a man-made system that we even manipulate so we can “save daylight” by an hour.
So what is time? If I think about it too much, it makes my head spin. I know I’m going down a rabbit hole when I pull out my copy of Stephen Hawking’s, The Universe in a Nutshell. (I had high hopes and a big desire when I bought that book. One day, I may actually have the discipline to sit down and read it cover to cover…but for now, I just scan sections and look at all the cool pictures and diagrams!) Is time a straight line, like a railroad track, with a beginning and end? Or is it an infinite loop? How does it connect to our three dimensional spatial reality? Add quantum physics, superstring theories and mathematical equations and you lose me.
The bottom line is that there are so many concepts and theories about time, in science, religion and philosophy, all going hand in hand with the creation of the Universe. The depth to which people have dedicated their lives to figuring it out is mind boggling in itself. And truthfully, will we ever really know?
But as far as our system of time goes, it’s always tickled me when traveling from zone to zone. Like flying from Boston to San Diego, you gain three hours…as if three hours has been added to your life or you’re able to go back in time…until you fly back east and lose them. Such a weird concept. And I’ve always wondered about people who live near a time zone border. If you live in one time zone and have to work in another? How confusing that must be! And then there are some places that don’t observe Daylight Savings at all, which throws everyone off for six months of the year.
In my last company, our headquarters was located in Australia. I’d be wrapping up my day on Monday, and would often be in contact with colleagues in Sydney, just starting their Tuesday morning. It wasn’t just a few hours, like coast to coast…it was a whole new day, which somehow made it seem more profound. I was talking to someone in the future…like time travelers.
Our perspective on time fluctuates as well. Time really does fly when you’re having fun, or so engrossed in a project that you forget about everything else. We’ve all stopped to take a break from something, only to realize that hours have passed by in the blink of an eye…totally losing track of time.
And then I’ve had the experience of time in slow motion. I was stopped at a red light at the bottom of a hill. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a car speeding down the hill behind me, unaware of the red light until it was too late. He veered to the left to avoid me, but still hit me on the left bumper. Then I saw another car right behind him. She veered to the right to avoid him, but hit me on the right bumper. It all happened in a split second, but I still remember it so clearly, as if time was suspended…enough for me to see it and accept the inevitability. (I credit my yoga practice for helping me relax and breathe into it, so I was not hurt at all. My poor car, however, was totaled, but the experience was quite the phenomenon.)
Time seems to go by exponentially faster as we get older. I remember being a kid and time seemed to stretch…especially when I was looking forward to something. It could never get here fast enough. And now, well, it’s like time is slipping through my fingers. As they say in the tagline of that soap opera, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”.
Chicago had it right when they sang, “Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?” Because there’s only one consistent answer to “what time is it?” It’s NOW. It is always now. Now. Now. Now.
Challenge for the week: DON’T think about time! (Seriously, it really will make your head spin.)
Live in the now. Learn to focus on what’s happening right now. That is really the only thing that matters…what’s happening right now. Make it the best now that you can.
Let go of the past, it no longer exists.
Stop worrying about the future, who knows what it will bring.
Concentrate on the present…THAT is the gift.
Have a great week of NOWS! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.