Time Is A Currency
I had a birthday last month, which always makes me contemplate the passage of Time. The dictionary defines time as, “The continued sequence of existence and events that occurs in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future”. I suppose time is relative – three minutes is not a very long time UNLESS you’re holding your breath underwater.
You Never Get Time Back
Or how I wished time would stand still so I didn’t have to go home to face my parents on report card day (I graduated 139th in a class of 141 at my high school). I can state with a high amount of confidence that most of us have waited in line at the DMV or sat in unproductive meetings and afterward thought to ourselves, “That’s xx hours of my life I’ll never get back.”
We seem to have a complex relationship with time – from moments that we wanted to last forever (post-coital bliss!) to the things we wanted right away and had no patience to wait for (post-coital bliss!).
Time Is Often The Greatest Gift You Can Give
The greatest gift we can give people is our time – I believe that is why they call it “spending” time together. I had a friend with whom I worked who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in his late 30’s and was only given a few months to live. I didn’t know the right words to say, or what I could do for him, or how I should act around him. I wanted to make a grand gesture to show how much I cared but trying to come up with something was stupefying.
I was stewing for days on it until my wife gave me the best advice – she said, “Just go spend a day with him, be with him. You don’t even have to talk, just watch one of your stupid sports shows together.” So I showed up in the morning and just spent the day visiting with him and his family, helping around the house and just being present in the moments we had together that day. Trust me, it wasn’t easy to just sit and be there – there were long awkward moments of silence and even awkward conversations.
After a few hours, I’m pretty sure I caught some glances between my friend and his wife that were like “How long is this going on for?” so I decided to leave just before supper time. When I said goodbye to my friend that evening, it wasn’t like “Adios” or “later dude”. It was a real goodbye moment, like I may not see you alive again goodbye – hugs, tears, not wanting the moment to end but also wanting to run away, so many emotions.
On the drive home from Fresno, it felt like I went through all the stages of grief in about 20 minutes and then I realized something – the time that we spent together, just being together, was a gift for both of us.
Technology Can Impede You From Being Present
People talk about “Quality time”, especially as it relates to our children – “I got to spend some quality time with the kids this weekend” but I have a different opinion – you just must be there and be present. You never know when a child or grandchild will drop a fork off the dinner table and ask, “Why did that fall down instead of floating?” and there you are, trying to explain gravity. So, I encourage everyone to put down the phone, clear your mind of distracting thoughts, be present, and give the gift of your time to someone.