The clock on my desk sometimes seems to run my life. I’m always checking to see that I am “on time” for this or that. Keeping people waiting is very uncomfortable for me. Or I’m checking to see if I “have time” to do one more thing before I need to move on to the next scheduled event. When I am not checking the clock, it seems that I’m checking the calendar. Though people often think that I have a calendar in my head, I have become increasingly reliant upon paper calendars and electronic calendars to remind me of how I’ve committed to spend my time. As I get older, it cannot be assumed that an appointment is sufficiently encoded on that calendar in my head. And, of course, I wouldn’t want to miss a thing. Where did all of this preoccupation with time come from? How did time become so important?
Time can be loosely defined as a space between events. Early measures of time were quite simple and functional. A day, the space between two nights, and a month, the space between new moons, were adequate measures in early “times”. Even now, I love it when I hear a parent tell their child “just two more sleeps” before some anticipated event. This refreshingly simple measure is adequate for the really important things in life. Similarly the measurement of one’s age as the number of harvests he/she has lived through seems adequate without reference to the precise month date and year when we arrive or pass from this world. Bedtime was once the time when the day no longer provided adequate light. What simplicity.
In my own life I intend to seek out more unscheduled “times”. Let me pencil that in.