The effect of time

Looking back ...

Time is a constant that affects all people equally. Seconds, minutes, days, weeks, years and decades: the same for the richest self-made billionaire and the same for us. ‘Time management’ is a misnomer. We can’t manage time: only ourselves within it.

Our finite reality provides us with a limited time on this planet to achieve the goals we set. Many people are deeply concerned with the passage of time on themselves and what they can achieve.

Time is a major cause of stress in our lives. Try as we might we cannot hold back the flow of time. Even aging 1980’s action heroes with their strangely obvious cosmetic surgery, liposuction, hair dye and human growth hormones ultimately can’t hold back time.

If time is passing us by, what can we do?

When what manifests in our lives isn’t aligned with our expectations what should we do? Should we deny our experiences and call them a waste of time because they’re not what we expected? Should we settle for what we get and accept that time is against us?

Or do we change course and try again? After all, we have the time and it’s just up to us as to how we use it. Time passes whether we’re actively engaged in pursing our goals or sitting on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves.

Are you prepared to try? After all, if you always get only what you expect, where would life’s challenges be, and how would you grow? Are you prepared to accept what has gone before as ‘time served’ towards your goal, to leverage all your experiences to create the life you want and deserve?

Yes, you do have the time. If you start now.

Taking the time to do what’s expected

While youth may be wasted on the young, in middle age we enjoy the wisdom and resources to create the life we truly desire. It’s up to us. As a species we love routine and follow what is expected of us. But in that, if we’re not careful, is the trap of unfulfilled mediocrity.

Get an education, find a partner, get a job, buy a home, raise a family, work hard, pay taxes, contribute to society, have a nice garden, a nice life. Catch up with friends on the weekend over a few drinks and during the week come home to four hours of television to ‘unwind’. Perhaps take a two-week holiday to the coast at Christmas.

Day after day, week after week, year after year. We live in a routine life, following the social cues. Doing so, we will have a ‘nice’ life. Not great but not bad either; a life of significance or indifference. We passively accept our lot in life and if we find ourselves thinking about how things could have been, where the dreams of our youth have gone, we remind ourselves of our responsibilities and snap back to reality.

 When we approach the end of our lives we find another emotional time. One of regret for the things that could have been or should have been but weren’t. We realise we learnt how to make a living, but not a life. We added years to life but not life to our years. We spent more, but enjoyed it less. We had more convenience, but less time.

We look back and see all the things we should have done. We look forward to all the things we need to do. And then we look at where we are.

The next post will show us how to free ourselves of the time traps of our own making.

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