What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.
~ Saint Augustine
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time, in general and specifically. Middle of the night thoughts that rattle the brain cells when sleep is hard to find. In last Monday’s post, I used the phrase “time flies” and that got me started thinking about all the different references we use to talk about time and what we do with it.
Proverbs and sayings tell us that time heals or time steals, in addition to flying by us. We can make time for something or take time for something, find ways to save time, waste time, kill time. I seem particularly adept at losing time, but not so good at keeping time. I can buy time or spend time, but I never seem to have enough of it. I can give of my time and fill my time. Mark time or make time. Time is money.
Time and the perception of time, much like the concept of memory, is one that fascinates me. As I’ve wandered around on the web, I’ve found several sites that explore the idea of time. One of interest was created by a team of students for a ThinkQuest competition and explores time through the ages, with sections on measuring time and keeping time as well as on the perception of time.
If you’re game to dig a little deeper, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an intriguing article on the The Experience and Perception of Time.
Attitudes about time and the way people use it reflect much about how they look at the world, what they believe in, their priorities, and their desires. One of my favorite quotes is from H. Jackson Brown, author of Life’s Little Instruction Book: “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
Some people cram every moment full of something, others travel more leisurely along the way. I tend to vary between those two, sometimes feeling as though I’ll never get everything done, and sometimes getting nothing done. But I’m definitely far more aware of time passing than I have ever been. The other night I heard Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” and listened to the lyrics for the first time in ages. And realized how powerful and timely the lyrics are for me right now. In case it’s been awhile, here’s one version from YouTube.
So for this last Monday Moment in August, chime in — if you could save time in a bottle, what would you do with it?