Befriend time? But isn’t it the thing that nips at your heels and makes you worry about keeping up?
Well, that’s partly true. While time is absolute, concrete, and universal, you actually do have choices about how you relate to it.
So, when you think about time, do you embrace it as your friend? Or do you feel driven and trapped by it, as if it’s your enemy?
I invite you to “befriend time” by learning how to align your choices with your values. This is a wise decision to make. But let’s explore just why that is by first assimilating a fundamental, inescapable fact:
“Time is the heart of existence.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
It is the context for all of us, no matter who we are or what we do. Everything flows from time and is contained by it. This context is both frustrating and freeing, depending on your approach. To live effectively, you must relate to time effectively!
It is part of our universal language, and it truly is inescapable:
- Nearly everyone wears a watch.We have timers on many appliances, including our stoves, our computers and our VCR’s.Big Ben and Times Square reflect time’s centrality, worldwide.
We move within larger rhythms, as well.
- Farmers watch the movement of the sun through the sky and the transitions of the seasons.All cultures honor the flow of seasons and years with special rituals.
Whether you govern your choices by clocks or by the sun, you must live within the 24 hours allotted to you each day. Time is the great equalizer in this respect. We each receive this precious gift in exactly the same amount for each and every day that we live.
Once you spend time, it is gone. There’s no way of getting it back. Lost opportunities may be replaced, but they will not be regained. Each choice you make sets your path in wanted or unwanted directions. There is no dress rehearsal and no instant replay, and this fact can be scary because it shows our inability to control time.
You can’t “manage time,” no matter how much you may want to. You only can manage your choices. You also can either approach this reality with fear or with respect. When you fear “losing time.” you might panic, procrastinate, or feel overwhelmed and thus generate more panic! Instead, truly respecting that time is irreversible can motivate you to prioritize your time choices in ways that match your value system.
Time is a commodity, so it’s important to be comfortable with your time choices. It’s helpful to replace the fear-based scarcity mentality with resolve to align your time choices with your values, both in daily choices and in your life. As you make that shift, you will generate more creative and productive time choices.
Time is neutral. It just is. There is no inherent value or value judgment around time, except for the value judgment you make about how to use your time. So I, encourage you to examine your time choices with curiosity, not judgment. You can learn to revise time choices so that they truly match your personal values. This is one of the most important steps you can take to befriend time and take charge of it’s impact on your life.
Start spending time now being aware of your time choices. Are these active or proactive? Are they driven by your life values or by pressures from others?
Let’s explore time together!