Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Another Rotary 'Moment of Silence'

TIME - Two Versions

I was really shocked when the members applauded when I finished this.

Moment of Reflection – May 28, 2019

The subject of this moment of reflection is time. Which begs the question: how much time is spent in a moment? In this case less than 3 minutes – I timed it!

There are so many great quotes about how we all have the same 24 hrs in a day, how time flies and so on and so forth – so I won’t try to impress you with the wisdom of those quotes. Just Google it.

What got me thinking about this is my recent birthday. I was 24,107 days old on May 7th – 66 years. My 25,000th birthday will be October 17, 2021. I’m already 3 years older than my dad when he died. But I would need to celebrate my birthday in 2039 to live as long as my mom – who died at 86 last November.

My life expectancy is just over 32,000 days (88 years). If that’s right, I’ve got about a quarter tank left on life’s highway.

I’ve tried lots of tricks to manage time but failed at them all. I’ve read Getting Things Done twice, I use ToDoIst to keep a digital to-do list. I discover lost lists, plans, goals and journals all the time with obsolete records of where I wanted to be by when. As John Lennon sang: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I gave a speech twenty years ago about my frustration. The title was: OK, I’M 45, WHERE’S THE FERRARI?

But I’m ready to try again! I came across a website a couple weeks ago that filled me with enthusiasm that I could reform my time management dysfunction: WaitButWhy.com. The author calculated that after subtracting time for sleep we each have about 1000 minutes left to spend per day, or about 100 ten-minute blocks. On the table you have a chart with 100 blocks to take home. He recommends keeping track of the blocks and the way you spend them. This seemed simple enough for even me to do. The result will be a picture of your priorities, interruptions, misdirections and the investments you make in the people you care about the most.

But wait – there’s a challenge: Imagine another page – one which is pre-filled with how you *want* to spend your time. Maybe we can’t live everyday trouble free and on-track. But the days lead to weeks and those to the years which comprise a life. If the way we spend most of our days doesn’t add up to the way we want to spend our life then maybe we should change course or something?

On the back of the page is a 90 year life represented in blocks of weeks – 4680 of them. The WaitButWhy.com website has lots of interesting charts of famous people, when they did what made them famous or simply when they died along the way. Fill it in for yourself. The span of your youth, education, or career, your wedding, kids’ birthdays or the passing of a loved one can be visualized on the canvas of your life.

It’s never too late to see the big picture.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot*.





From November 5, 2013

Ever since I was a boy I’ve been fascinated with time.

Back then, science could tell time to the millionth of a second.  Now, we keep it to better than a trillionth.  For comparison, light travels about one foot in one nanosecond – one billionth of a second.  GPS and the Internet can’t work if clocks are wrong by just a few of them.  We’ve gone from telling time by the change in the colors of the seasons to telling time by the change in the color of light that reaches us from the stars.

Most of us live minute to minute.  By comparison an impossibly vast amount of time – if you’re a computer.  It’s all relative.  Einstein, the expert of relativity, noted the time you spend with a pretty girl is relatively short when compared to the time you spend sitting on a hot stove – though both time periods may be the same.

Everyone wants to save time – but there is no hoarding it.  Time is the great equalizer.  Everyone has less than they need, but according to Chief Red Jacket, of the Six Nations of New York, everyone has all there is.  

Time and tide wait for no man.

I see time pass in the birthdays of my grandchildren.  I wonder if they realize those ‘endless days’ til Christmas, til Spring, til birthdays, til whatever will someday pass like ice melts in hot tea.  Look away and it’s gone.

How to make time slow?  I’ve found one way: live today.  The setting of appointments and anniversaries is particularly problematic.  Like the time between them is ‘fly over country.’  Lacking an excuse to pay attention, time filled with work, we compress away those spaces like ‘filler,’ and lose the time to anticipation. 

Oliver Wendell Homes, the astute early 20th century Supreme Court Justice said: ‘I do despise making the most of one’s time.  Half of the pleasure of life consists of the opportunities one has neglected.’  ‘Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans,’ wrote a more contemporary artist of our language, John Lennon.

Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. 

Dr. Seuss said: “How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”