Do you see time as an arbitrary social construct? You know, a thing we all agreed to so we can make sense of the changes we experience in life and around us? Why we grow up and old, why wine tastes better with age, why we sleep at night and wake up when the sun starts to shine. For most things, it’s a clockwork. They all adhere to the presets of time and get rewarded for it. In life, when we respect the boundaries of time, we buy ourselves more luck.
The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time
To write a commentary about the philosophy and concepts of time is a trap. It’s like a wicked witch and its candy trail that leads to a house that you may not be able to leave as soon as you enter. Kind of morbid. Let’s just say it’s a black hole. You doom scroll from one topic to another. The more you read, the more the real estate of ideas expands.
Every once in a while, we’d hear people toss the aphorism, “People make mistakes.” But the impact of said mistakes mostly depends on when it was committed, and not how. A jump ship in your career when the economy is not looking so forgiving. A pastry pulled out in the oven too late or too early. A mistimed ball pass that was supposed to make the biggest shot of your life. Or a large purchase in the middle of the payroll week that would send you eating crumbs until the next paycheck arrives. Figures. These are common instances that certain situations may push us to commit. But the mistake part is not about what, but rather, when.
Time is not the Switzerland of things. It takes sides. It’s a weapon that both destroys and creates — time of death, time of birth, time to rise, time to bed. It is a concept of duration with varying outcomes and effects. So whatever you decide to do and not do with it will either make or break you. So when we say time is not on our side, it’s a universal agreement that if we do something too early or too late, the likelihood of getting a positive outcome may be less.
“People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
But how do we know when it’s the time? In many cases, we can’t. But when we do, we sure can predict the outcomes based on timing and leave the rest to luck and faith. Relativity. Einstein once said that time is an illusion. He also realized that it is not absolute. Depending on where you stand, either one or both of his statements are correct. We will experience many life events, but they don’t necessarily happen to us at the same time. It is simply not the same for all.
Sometimes, it’s easier to believe in the general and philosophical concepts of time than the literal rocket science behind it. The past and the future do not exist— at least not yet. They only become real when they’re already happening. Needless to say, the only thing that matters is the present. It’s the only real thing. What happened before and what will happen after this very moment are all nonexistent in the context of time.
What does this tell us? Two things: You can avoid making time as your master, and there’s really only one thing you should be worrying about— the now. To place how we live our lives in the two hands of a clock puts us in a risky situation of not truly realizing what matters most in life.
INSTINCTS WIN VERSUS TIME
Humans have already been thriving by natural instincts before the concept of time was invented, thousands of years ago. This is not to say that we should ditch the entire thing. We’re only saying that we can’t be slaves of time if we want to live life to its fullest. The modern world simply demands so much from us that we often miss asking if where we devote our time is still meaningful.
We all follow a certain timeline, and that’s not a bad thing. It helps us keep things in order, but our instincts and ability to see situations through various lenses should be the basis of the actions we’ll take, and not time. It’s what separates us from other lifeforms. We get to tell what’s right and wrong, what’s beneficial and trivial, what’s real and what’s not.
NOW IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS
We forget that many of our expectations related to time are borne out of our imaginations. Remember, the only thing that’s real is our present. The past and the future do not exist. The things we do now will be the driving force of what will happen in the future, and none of us know what will happen then. Thinking about what we could’ve done and what could’ve been is irrelevant because we can no longer take it back. Dwelling on them will give no benefits other than giving us a base point when we encounter similar situations. Charging it to experience, they say. Take inspired actions by choosing to be mindful of the choices you make, so that when things go haywire, you can easily absorb the negative impacts of it.
Ultimately, you own your time. It’s not your master. Though it’s challenging to put what fulfills us in front of everything else when time pushes with crushing demands, we should always bear in mind that our welfare is paramount. If we do not take care of ourselves by doing the things that make us motivated and fulfilled, we are more likely to disdain doing the said things, which could put us in a more difficult situation. Time is a weapon we could use to our advantage if we manage how much of our lives we depend on it. The endpoint of time is fulfillment and the key is not by spending time but by investing in it. With wise choices, definitive actions, some grain of luck, and a leaf of faith, fulfillment can be yours. Make time for what matters, you.