All those who know me can tell you how my life pretty much revolves around time. I am never late – for anything. For me, punctuality is not only a sign of respect; it’s just a way of life. There’s a strict time for everything. I guess I can safely say I freak out just a little when something unplanned and outside of its natural time, suddenly occurs. I’m pretty much its slave really. Which is why it got to the point where I needed to sit down, think & write about it (It’s how I cope with every crisis).
We’ve all heard it, that age-old adage which likens life to a race, where we’re the breathless, nostrils-flaring horses competing against time to win (which we never do). And it’s true. You don’t need me to tell you how life has become ridiculously fast-paced. You’re probably reading this in between errands, while eating lunch and talking to your friend. We’re doing 3 or 4 different things at the same time, the entire day. 24 hours are suddenly not enough: we sleep less, we rush our meals, we need to make time for a million circle of friends and family and somehow, we also need to make time for ourselves, to exercise or pursue another hobby. I am of course only taking into consideration what’s left after a 9 hour day at work. Yeah, phew.
Time is EVERYTHING.
Back to my abnormal, quasi-maniacal obsession with time. The nature of it probably stems from the desire to be in control of the time I have. So I can plan ahead and try to fit in as many things as I can. If everything is slotted in its place, then I can at least enjoy a measure of ‘peace of mind’ so to speak, right? Not really. Unfortunately, life happens to have its own idea of what we should be doing at a specific time, which drives me nuts. We’re constantly doing things while thinking of our next item on our to-do list, cross-checking ourselves with time and wondering whether we’ll manage. Then Aunt Vicky calls and spends exactly 52 minutes talking about how everything is going to the dogs.
Postponed: Everything else on today’s to do list. Sigh…
Has it ever happened to you that someone asks you what you’ve done that day and you really need to think the answer through? Not because you haven’t done anything but because everything was done so mindlessly that you really have to make an effort to compile a list. Happens to all of us – which is why we all need to literally put a pause to all the stuff screaming for our attention, and devote ourselves to one thing, simply by taking our time with it.
Living in the Moment
Whatever it is you’re doing, be it reading, eating, writing, painting, jogging – whatever – put in your 100% focus on it. Just really be there, focused, without having your mind scattered over a million other things. It’s hard to manage to do this for every single thing during the day, but try applying it to at least one activity a day, perhaps something you really enjoy doing.
In other words, really take your time to read that book. To cook that new recipe. To talk to your friend. It will give you the chance to appreciate it more. It will teach you to be grateful for it and to not take it for granted. I’ve been trying to do this when I’m reading or cooking or when I’m having dinner with someone. I apply myself fully to it – which also means leaving my phone in another room or switching off notifications (I’d love to write a bit more about Digital Detoxing but maybe it’s not the right forum now). I’ve found I enjoy whatever it is I’m doing more, and the fact that I’m not disturbed every so often by a beep just means I’m fully immersed in it. You could say I’m being mindful – which is really just another word for living (but truly living) in the moment.
I find the act of eating the perfect microcosmic example: savouring slowly will make sure you enjoy your meal and allows for better digestion. Rush the meal and you’ll probably end up with a hurting stomach. Take your time, savour slowly, and although I realise that realistically speaking this is not possible with every single task of the day, take your time to do something you enjoy. Whatever it is, do it slowly, do it well. And for that moment, forget all about time. Whatever it is you have to do can probably wait just a bit more.
Time is one of our most precious things in life. Let’s not waste it chasing the next best moment.