catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 6 :: 2013.03.15 — 2013.03.28


Given time, giving time

I came across a study asking what people would do with one extra day a week — for example, if you just happened to look at the calendar and notice that, instead of there being seven days between one Saturday and the next, there are eight. “What would you do with that extra 24 hours?” the study asked. The possibilities are endless! Yet, the majority of those who responded said that they would catch up on everything that they missed throughout the week. They would have one more day to pay some bills, they would be able to fit in one more appointment, and they would finally have some time to devote to responding to those pesky e-mails. This study showed that we don’t have enough time with our daily hustle and bustle and we therefore need more space to fit it all in. Trying to fit everything in is like a race against the clock as our week bulges at the seams. It seems that we need a little extra time for the time we don’t have.

To fix this problem, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are increasingly restraining time and speeding up the process of life. With newer and faster technology, we are beginning to gain the upper hand on time. You don’t have anything on us, time! Gone are the days when anything takes longer than an hour. We can cook a meal, Skype to Russia, read a quick synopsis on Wikipedia and download the latest T-Pain song in less than five minutes. We pride ourselves on the instant return. We revel in our time-reducing machines. Our tower of Babel does not soar vertically to the skies, but instead runs horizontal throughout the airwaves, connecting us to the cyber-beyond. Time is the final frontier.

Yet even with our constant efforts to hog-tie our time and produce that proverbial eighth day, it seems that time is a category that we just can’t get our heads around. We are too preoccupied with restraining the time of our daily lives to focus our attention on how time changes us. We attempt to alter time by creating strategies and technologies to enhance and control our time.  Yet, while we are trying our best to influence time, it seems that time is the thing influencing us.

Time molds us by the way that we interact with it. Through our need for speed, our bodies change, our ideas change, our eating habits change and our relationships change. With the ever-pressing need for more time, we end up spending less time on those things that make spending time worthwhile. Time gives us the gift of meaning; it makes us who we are. And our response to time tells us a lot about each other. It shows us what is most important in our lives. Because our time will someday run out, the way we offer our time can make a big impact on the things around us. We change the world not by holding onto time with a tight grip, but by allowing it to run slowly through our fingers and cover the things that most excite us. If holding on to time necessitates a life of urgency, then an open hand toward time eases the desire to rush. This relationship to time allows more time for our relationships. We need to ignore the tendency to turn time into a commodity that can be traded and withheld when the market is good. It should not be something that we feel control over. Instead, time should be viewed as something that is given to us, and something that we freely give.

And I hope that someday you can find a slice of my time aside a hot kettle of tea. I hope that my eighth day is spent offering you a warm scone. 

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