Friday, March 18, 2016

Time: A Matter of Perspective #SOL16 Day 19


I awoke at 2:30 a.m. our first morning in Hawaii. I didn't expect the four hour time difference to affect me much since the time change from MST to London didn't bother me last spring when I traveled to Europe.

How we spend time, how we think about time is very personal and cultural. It's impossible to define or explain how we each think about time adequately enough to covey all notions of time.  A moment may speed by for one person and drag on forever in the mind of another. St. Augustine recognized this paradox of time: 

"What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled."

In western cultures we live by the clock. We hurry to travel from point A to point B only to spend time waiting

-at the airport for a flight to board, 
-on the plane for the plane to land, 
-in line at the grocery,
-for others to arrive, 
-etc. 

Literature immortalizes time in ways the calendar and our own perceptions can't conceive. 

In "The Great Gatsby" a broken clock symbolizes Gatsby's desire to recover his past with Daisy, to make time stand still. 

Similarly, in "The Sound and the Fury" William Faulkner puts these words in Quentin's  mouth: "clocks slay time. He said time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life." Quentin is speaking about his father. 

Fairy tales often begin "Once upon a time," reminding and exporting us to the past. "A Christmas Carol" allows us to experience time travel so that we might journey through our own lives a little wiser and kinder to those less blessed than ourselves. 

I could go on, but "time is simply flying," and the literature of time is far too vast to catalogue all the titles. 

Similarly, music also struggles to explain time's personal nature. 

"Time, why you punish me?" Hootie asked in a song back in the 90s. 

Jim Croce imagined how he'd spend time if only he had more: "If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do is to spend every day like a treasure..."

I'm a believer in the idea that we make time for the things that matter most to us.  Yet even as I bid my time awaiting the beginning of spring break, I now find myself mindful of the temporal nature of this holiday, and as I age, I'm acutely aware that this opportunity may be my last. 

"We may never pass this way again," such is the world of limited time. 
"The Persistence of Memory" by Salvadore Dali. Wiki image. 

11 comments:

  1. Love this thoughtful and reflective piece about time. Jim Croce being my favorite reference!

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    1. Jim Croce has always been one of my faves, too.

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  2. This slice so strongly makes me think about our character ed philosophy in my district. We follow the 8 Keys of Excellence and one of the Keys is, "This is It". That simply means - enjoy now and don't live in the past or the future. Thanks for helping me to think more deeply about that idea.

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    1. We can get so caught up I both the past and future that we forget about the present. I do think we need to be forward thinking, however, and it's important to learn from the past.

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  3. This slice so strongly makes me think about our character ed philosophy in my district. We follow the 8 Keys of Excellence and one of the Keys is, "This is It". That simply means - enjoy now and don't live in the past or the future. Thanks for helping me to think more deeply about that idea.

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  4. So glad you took the time to reflect in this lovely way! ;-) That Jim Croce song is one of my favorites. I am saddened by the line "I now find myself mindful of the temporal nature of this holiday, and as I age, I'm acutely aware that this opportunity may be my last." Why might it be your last?

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    1. My bucket list of places to go is long. My husband is 68, and even though he's energetic and strong and still working, he and I are both aging. Who knows what the future will bring.

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  5. I really enjoyed your post, Glenda, that wandering through bits about time, including what I always thought of as bittersweett, Jim Croce song. When I visit other countries, it makes me wish that we here in the U.S. wouldn't hurry so.

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  6. Totally agree that "we make time for the things that matter most to us." I say that all the time when people ask me how I have time to do _____. The blank could be reading, writing, learning to play the guitar again, you name it. What do people do with their time? Makes you wonder. Anyway, you can also add Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours to that list!

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    1. I thought about both those novels, as well as Steely Dan's song "Reeling in the Years." I may need to do a follow up!

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  7. Such a lovely reflective piece. The older I get the faster time seems to go. Oh that we could slow it down.

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