|Andrew Marvell. I'd be coy too.|
Three weeks ago this Monday my watch stopped at seventeen minutes past three. And it was Friday (the day before yesterday) before I replaced the battery. Yes, that was as poor as time management gets. Of course the delay in getting to the jeweller's was exacerbated by my lack of a working watch. I was late leaving the house every morning. Even though all our classrooms are equipped with functioning clocks, I found it hard to get into the habit of consulting them instead of my wrist, and class after class has been timed awry. I know there are those who get by without a watch, who rely on clocks and mobiles, but really -how do you people manage?
Losing and regaining the gift of accurate time-keeping has made me conscious of time itself.
"Make Time for the Things that are Important"
This phrase has been running through my brain for a few weeks now. It's one of the answers to my constant question "how do avoid similar f**k-ups in the future?" And sometimes life seems like one fuck-up after another. The answer to "how did I let this happen" is "you were busy doing stuff that doesn't matter"more often than not.
To say time is our most precious resource is a clichéd understatement. Time is not a resource, but one of the most important dimensions in which our lives are lived. Even though the path I've taken so far in life has taught me lots, and shown me some good places and great people, I feel that an appreciation of time would have helped me be happier. For much of my adult life, time has been something to be endured. I suffered from chronic FOMO. Weekends were deserts to be crossed instead of two days crammed full of lovely time. I was hanging on in there, and hanging, and hanging...until letting go and falling became a fantasy.
Time is precious even when I'm alone. Time is precious even if I don't have children. Time is precious even when I'm tired. Because there is always something to be done. There are always things to do.
My first hospital admission. I remember it coming to me. Clear, clear as day. There was no need not to eat. There was no need to worry about money. Because the world was full of food, and the world was full of money (even if little of it was within my possession). But time. Time was scarce. I felt an incredible urge to live life. To do things. To make use of my time.
I was twenty-one, and in hospital on my first psychiatric admission. By the time I got out again, and free again, it was many years before time stopped being painful. Empty hours were the worst and I became adept at keeping busy by doing inconsequential things really slowly.
You'd expect this theme, of making the most of time, to generate resolutions, productivity tips and trigger lists. I've tried these and concluded they're mostly other people's systems that work fantastically for them, but don't translate into my life and probably not into yours. I even borrowed a library book with the title "How to Make More Time" but realise I might as well have read "How to Turn Back Time" because none of us can add the twenty-fifth hour to the day. The one where I could've popped to the jeweller's or cleaned the car or had a nap before going out.
So this month there is no Resolutions Chart or small daily goals. There is only the mantra in the back of my head, always, to Make Time for What Really Matters. Not to fear its wing'd chariot, but to to live every minute, and appreciate every hour.