Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.
Stephen Vincent Benet
I find our culture’s “end of year” energy interesting. The mass media has their many Year in Reviews and an equal amount of the Year Aheads. Individually, many of us accept that December 31st is the end of something and January 1st the beginning. We are conditioned for that, right? The time we experience is more or less a social construct. Without it, communication, transportation, our economy, our society, our lives would falter, correct? And in all that “goodness” we get from a structured world, is it possible that our relationship with time inhibits our lives?
When I explore the concept of time, real time, it’s honestly a concept that is hard for me to grasp. Einstein theorized that space and time are connected, bending, curving. Allegedly, gravity stretches time. More gravity, slower time. Take a clock from the floor, put it on the wall and time accelerates. Some physicists may correct me, but our time is nothing like real time. Our time is an illusion that we accept to live our lives in accordance with. An illusion that I have often pondered how to live without. Despite finding some small ways to a little freedom from it, I have find it difficult to live a life without a clock or a calendar. But I can choose to work the clock and calendar rather than letting them work me.
How often have you spent a day worrying about or dreaming about the days ahead? How many times have you heard someone say (or said yourself 😬) at Thanksgiving dinner, I am going to… (go on a diet, start working out, begin my blog etc.) at the beginning of the new year? I certainly have done it. What is magical about a day a month and a half away? Nothing, right? Every day, every moment is the beginning of something new if we are intentional about it.
Let me suggest that one of our issues with time is the moment we take our first breath our time is limited, and we don’t know when the last breath will be. That thought can be frightening…or empowering. Will we spend our limited time afraid, anxious, obsessed with doing, with what people are thinking about us, with how we look, or instead savor every moment?
It is so easy to live our lives in alignment with the structure of a day an hour, a minute. This living is designed for us. Being in alignment with that order is safe. But I wonder, when you contemplate the shortness of life, and become appreciative of its wonder, does any of the “design” feel constrictive?
If your answer to that question is no, sweet! Namaste to you. But if your answer is yes, maybe you start the new year (kidding! Start today!) taking full responsibility for living your life according to your design. When I suggest that you may think, that would be great, but it would be messy, difficult etc. Yup…I get it. Remember though, the clock is ticking. Ours and the Real One.
Previously Published on menliving.org and republished on Medium.
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