There was a time in my life when I spent my time as if I owned an inexhaustible supply. Spent it frivolously, unconscious of its flow through my careless fingers. Now, I wish I could reclaim some of that foolishly frittered time, but the expiration date is long past. What’s gone is gone.
I’m thinking about time because of the hour I’m told I lost when the clocks were sprung ahead last night. I understand on some level that what I lost was an hour of sleep that I might otherwise have enjoyed, but the idea of “lost time” seems to be stuck in my mind and giving me something to worry at. I do understand that come the fall, I’ll “get my hour back” with the next clock change, but who wants to wait that long? Did the universe “borrow” that hour? Can I have it back with interest? Maybe give me back like 28 hours to make it all worth my while–?
Back when I was throwing time around like a drunken watchmaker, I never guessed there would come a time when I’d want more. But you reach a certain age, and every second seems to count much more than you’d ever have expected. And, in some sort of perverse example of Einsteinian relativity, time seems to speed up as you approach the horizon of your time in this life. Speeds up and careens all over the place like a super ball dropped down a stairwell. Time is a fluid and mercurial resource–it will run away from you, and suddenly you’ll be wondering where it went.
Not that I’m old. I like to think of myself as middle-aged, and as long as I live to 110, that’s accurate. But I can’t believe how quickly and virtually without conscious awareness I got to where in life I am. And, I don’t even want to think about the hours I’ve lost, cumulatively speaking, over the years. Did I get them all back? Should I have been keeping track?
If I could have saved them, I know I could have used them better. If you have children you never get enough time with them. How nice would it be to be able to draw on banked time to give you that little bit more of the first steps, or the first date, or the first day of college? Or just a little more Tuesday night with them? Or with friends, or family… If you’d spend even one extra minute playing a video game or watching TV, seriously, you need to have something looked at.
Time is a commodity, and at least on a human level, it does not flow from a bottomless well. We should steward what we can and treasure every tick of it. But, being honest and human, we probably won’t; time will outrun us all. So, we’ll try our best, and be mindful of every moment we can. We don’t want to wind up unwound and out of time.
But whatever you do with your time, and all the important people in it, do make sure every fall that you get your lost spring hour back.