18 August 2017

The Time of Our Lives


I hear it all the time. People say, "Time goes by so fast." "Time flies." "Where does the time go?" "I can't believe it's been a year already; it feels like yesterday."

I must confess that this phenomenon -- the flight of time -- has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. I've been assured that it will go faster and faster the older I get. Well, I'm older than I was the last time I was told this, and I'm still waiting. To me, twenty-four hours feels like a day. Three hundred sixty-five days feels like a year. Ten years feels like.... well, like ten years. Neither more nor less.

Frankly, it gives me pause to hear people talk about time as if it were a murderer fleeing the scene of a crime -- but casually, as if what they're losing is of no consequence. It doesn't really matter to them that the thief is getting away even as they speak. I do wonder if this is actually normal. Would they be so blasé about something tangible -- say, money? For instance:

"Where does the money go?"

"My money is passing by way too fast."

"I can't believe I've spent $[X amount] already. It doesn't seem possible."

"I'm not even sure where my money is going. I can't seem to keep up with it."

Yeah, yeah, I know: college students, single income families, and people who just plain don't get paid enough do say things like this. But the point is, because it's money we're talking about now, it matters. If we heard someone make these statements carelessly -- that they don't know where their money is going or why they seem to be losing it so quickly -- most of us would consider that to be a red flag that something is "off" with that person's handle on their finances. We would say they should learn how to be better money managers. Money, most of us are aware, is a valuable asset. It should be budgeted, saved wisely, and spent thoughtfully. It should be used for things that are needful or pleasures that are meaningful, not wanton. It should be shared generously with those in need.

If our money seems to be passing us by so fast that we literally have no idea where it's going, it's likely that we're failing to account for it properly.

Couldn't the same be said for time?

Time is, after all, the only resource that is both infinite and extremely limited. It's free -- but priceless. It can't be earned or stockpiled, but it must be spent, either well or poorly. And someday it must be accounted for -- every last bit of it.

Can you really use your time well if you don't know where it's going?

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