I read or heard somewhere recently that the word ‘time’ is one of the most frequently used words in the English language. Heads up, class … for today we are going to discuss the most important commodity in our possession. This word had been running through my brain (no, not because it is empty, Lads!) since I thought of doing this piece earlier today.
Time is everything, but what is the real definition of time. On one hand, it is the most valuable currency of all; and yet, very often it is the one we give the least respect to. I suppose the first thing to say in trying to say what time is all about, is that it is the continued sequel of existence between the past, the present and the future. There is no pause button, ‘time and tide wait for no man.’
The time allotted to each of us to make up a lifetime carries a huge variance. Like a lot of other privileges on this planet it is not fairly distributed. But we are all together in one aspect of the time distribution: That is today. Today we all have exactly the same amount of time at our disposal. It is the one precious treasure that each of us receives in equal measure every day.
Time is so powerful that it is given to us only in small doses. An awful lot of our 24 hour ration is badly wasted. Maybe if we knew the total number of days left in our future, we would make more use of our time. The old adage of Parkinson’s Law states that, ‘work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion!’
‘Killing time’, has to be the most negative time-span of all. Then again, the use of any given period of time can be very subjective depending on the experience of the moment. The couple celebrating their first dinner date will think of that two hours very differently from the guy walking home in the rain without a coat! The perception of the length of a year is very different from that of my grandchildren to an old geezer like me!
People fret about not having enough time for this or that, when really the problem is usually about priorities. A person generally has time to do all the things they really want to do. Managing time should be one of the most important aspects of life. I believe it should be a subject taught in primary school; it is that important. There is more talk about managing money than there is of managing time: And didn’t Benjamin Franklin tell us that ‘time is money!’
No matter what you are doing today, you are having ‘the time of your life.’ This is literally true – whether you are having fun or not, but if you are ‘doing time’ that is a very different kettle of fish!
There are so many different meanings of time, depending on the sentence and even where the word is placed in that sentence. This week’s column is about ‘time matters’, but that is very different from explaining to somebody that time matters. Then of course we have ‘new time’ and ‘old time’ when the clocks change.
My Irish friend (who shall be nameless) and I were walking back to our hotel in downtown New York one night several years back. (Oh, I’m not so sure I should tell you this one … but I’ve started, so I’ll finish!).
New York was reputed to be dangerous on the street, but I have often felt much more intimidated in some of our own towns over the years than I do in ‘The Big Apple’. Anyway, this big fancy car pulls abreast of us, the window rolls down, and a heavily made-up lady asks; ‘Hey guys – how ‘bout a good time?’ Joe looks at his watch and tells her ‘it’s twenty to one!’ (And we did keep on walking, Darling!)
‘Time gentlemen please’, is the oldest traditional cry of the publican at the end of the night – which of course is ‘closing time.’ The door will stay shut then until ‘opening time’ the next morning. The referee will blow what on his whistle? That’s right, class – ‘full time’.
‘Timing is everything and ‘being in the right place at the right time is more of the same. But no matter how right we get it, time will take it back. What Mother Nature gives us, Father Time will take back. Just remember that you have a finite amount of time left to you.
Time marches on and my time is up here. See you, same time, same place, next week! (Unless I get fired for telling Joe’s story!)
The best thing to spend on children is your time.