Day 576: No Absolute Time

I think, write, feel, and dream — a lot — about time.

I have been doing that, for a very long time. That is the absolute truth.

I believe I am not alone, focusing on time. Here are some thoughts about time that have helped me (and others), many times:

Your time on earth is not unlimited.

Every moment is precious.

The past is the past.

We cannot know the future.

The only thing we have, for sure, is the present.

There is no time like the present.

You have all the time you need.

That last line might seem like a contradiction, at times.  However, that thought is absolutely necessary, for me, to let go of anxiety about time.

At work, I feel I have too much to do and not enough time to do it.

My third-year work anniversary is August 2. That is, absolutely, three days from the time I am writing this.

If I am to remain healthy in mind, soul, and body, I must find ways to deal with time-based anxiety.

I am inspired, by problems, to seek solutions. I am doing the best I can, with the time I have.

I had absolute time, yesterday, for all these images:

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IMG_7520 IMG_7521 IMG_7523IMG_7525

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I have the time and space for one more photo, this morning:

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I always have time for comments and questions.

Do you have time, today?

Thanks to Jean Luc Ponty, to the lovely woman at the front desk where I work, to all who are dealing with time in any way, and to you — absolutely! — for taking the time to be here, now.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Day 576: No Absolute Time

  1. As I think I’ve mentioned before time is a fascination of mine and in fact I teach a course about the history of time and time keeping, with a smattering of psychology and sociology in there. I find it fascinating. A book you might enjoy reading some time if called the Geography of Time. It was refreshing to read that other cultures have completely different concepts of time and it has helped me realize that I have choices when it comes to how I use my time.

    There are numerous studies that show that time causes a lot of stress and anxiety in our culture because we are so time conscious here. Clocks have to be accurate, we schedule things by the minute, we have deadlines, and we are never very far from a clock. Even if you choose not to wear a watch, your cell phone and computer are happy to tell you the exact time with error of no more than a 1000th of a second. What studies show is that the economic success of a country is generally correlated to how the view time. So you can thank your wealth on that. In such countries time IS money, but of course money does not by happiness. Thus it makes one question why are we paying so much attention to the clock if it doesn’t get us anywhere? Of course the economic success is a bit of a chicken and the egg, once you start focusing on profit, you must also start paying extra attention to time and vice-versa. (and of course there are historical reasons that got this world to the point of being able to measure time to the 10 billionth of a second)

    The way in which we keep time I think is counter to the way we naturally operate. We evolved in the sun and shadows. A clock of sorts of course, but not a precise one. We move through the world with an implicit understanding that one event follows the next, but we don’t time stamp it. We measure time linearly, but ask any person alive and they will remember events where time seemed to move more slowly or quickly and so we experience time very non-linearly. I believe this disconnect is a source of stress.

    So what’s the answer? I mean one can’t really escape one’s life so easily, but there are things you can do to take a break from time. Try taking a break from all electronic devices. This is easiest done perhaps while camping or something. But make an effort on a weekend or even a day to just not look at the clock. It might feel uncomfortable at first but I think you’ll find that it actually becomes quite enjoyable. But if that isn’t possible, just try doing it for an evening. One of the things you will learn about in reading the book I recommended is something called “Event Time”. This is where you time is measured by what you are doing not when it is happening according to the clock. It could be a simple thing as not having a scheduled dinner time. Or rather thinking of “dinner time” as simply the evening meal regardless of when in the evening it happens. When it comes to time I, I think Harry Chapin expresses my thoughts on it perfectly so I shall leave you with this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gvhkr3v8iU

    Thank you for taking the time to read my long comment. Whenever I talk about time, I find it hard to be brief. 🙂

    • Swarn! Thank you for taking the time to write this. At the time I was writing the post this morning. I considered adding this: “I hope Swarn Gill has the time to see this post today and respond to it. ”

      My wish and hope came true, before I knew it!

      I will definitely check out that book.

      I probably don’t spend enough time expressing how much I appreciate you. Somehow, I think you likely understand.

      • Well if you are ever missing me too much make a blog post about “time” and I’m sure to respond. 🙂

        You are always so kind and extremely complimentary to me that I sometimes feel bad that I don’t have something to say to all your blogs. I mean I could ramble like I’m doing now, but that might be a waste of time. 🙂

        I am going home for a couple weeks (leaving soon) to show off my son to family so not that my comments haven’t been sporadic they are likely to be more so! Maybe when you have some time you can check out my most recent blog post called “Helpless”, I’d like to have your comments as well. 🙂 Have a wonderful evening Ann!

      • I will check out your blog post, Swarn. Enjoy showing off your son to your family. And know that I am always grateful for any time you give to my blog!

      • And I do feel appreciated even when you don’t say it explicitly, but I appreciate the words nonetheless! 🙂

    • I enjoyed this post very much, Swarn. I will try to get my hands on the Geography of Time (and my mind on it, too). As it happens, I have loved Chapin’s Let Time Go Lightly for many years, since seeing him perform it in Ontario with his brother. They were late for the concert because of a snowstorm but the audience was more than happy to let time go lightly.

      I am going to keep an eye on my watch this morning as I am meeting one of my sons at the airport, arriving from Tokyo. For several months, our Skype conversations have had us talking across two different dates, and now finally we will both be living in the same hour of the same day. This feels like a luxury now.

      • Thank you so much for your kind words. Unfortunately by the time I knew of Chapin’s existence he had already passed from this world. He would have been a joy in concert i have no doubt!

        The exactness in which we can measure time is truly remarkable and without it so many this would not be possible, including the modern system that allows for air travel that allows your son to come and visit! I’ve always felt however that we can allow technology to use time precisely while being more elastic with time for our daily lives as humans. Enjoy the luxury of having your son close in space AND time! 🙂

      • I loved reading this comment and the rest of this conversation. Thanks to both of you!

    • Swarn — I am captivated by your concept of letting technology be precise with time while allowing ourselves more elasticity.

      In concert (at least that evening, during the snowstorm), the thing that struck me most about Harry Chapin was how supportive he was of his brothers. He let time go lightly, but he promoted his brothers as musicians in solos and in the stories he told us. He gave no sense of being rushed. He had a way of reducing the stress that they all must have been under, rather than of passing it on to his siblings (who were his backup band and co-musicians). I was young at the time and I learned a lot about family from him.

      In your course about the history of time and time-keeping, do you draw in modern physics at all? This is just curiosity on my part.

      • I’ve seen a documentary about Harry Chapin and it is clear that he was quite simply a generous and great soul. He didn’t care about money or fame. He just wanted to make people happy and play music for them. Definitely sad that he left us so young.

        The class I teach is for honors students across many disciplines so I don’t spend much more than a couple lectures on Einstein. It’s definitely fascinating stuff. We grow up thinking that somehow the way we measure time is inherent, natural, and that there is no room for measuring it any other way. Through the lens of history I try to show them how our measurement system is really an invention and arbitrary, and that time is much more than what we think about it. The fact that it is relative is part of that message.

  2. So glad you took the time to write this post Ann! I will be contemplating – I have enough time – I think you’ve got something there! ❤
    Diana xo

    • I’m so grateful you take the time and care to comment, Diana. Your timely insight and loyalty really does make me feel like I’ve got something here.

  3. nice to have time
    and listen to
    Jean Luc Ponty 🙂

  4. todessakane2013

    I too think about time often and write about it lots too. I find it fascinating how well some use it and how easily others waste it.

    • It is a fascinating topic. I appreciate the time you took here today.

      • todessakane2013

        You are most welcome, thank you for the inspiration 🙂

        Have a blessed and wonderful rest of the week 🙂

  5. You’ve taken on a big one today Ann….
    Time works for me most of the time 😉
    What is that pink thing with the eyes?
    Val x

    • Time is a big one, Val. Thanks for joining in.

      The pink thing with the eyes is one of the many excellent dog toys my neighbor recently got for her puppy. My best guess (in a short amount of time) is that it’s a sting ray (one of the natural play-things of canines in the wild, I assume).

  6. I always have plenty of time, but never think I do. It keeps me from starting things that I likely have time to finish. Sometimes I think it’s my subconscious mind trying to keep me lazy.

    • Is it keeping you from starting things you want to do, Bradley? I wonder if the word “lazy” helps you. (I always wonder that about labels like that.) I am grateful that you took the trouble and time to read and comment today, absolutely.

  7. You always make time for, us, Ann, for all these 576 days now, and I for one, and absolutely grateful for you being in my life.

  8. In one way, there is never enough time. But in another, we feel and live all eternity in the moment. I don’t think that you can measure this kind of time, which is ineffable.

    You try so often to share your time with us, Ann. I think that sharing makes my time feel larger and also richer. And I notice that you share a lot of your time with your son. That time will go forward in many ways you can’t even begin to know yet.

    • And your beautiful ways of connecting will go forward in ways you can’t even begin to know yet, also. Many thanks.

  9. ” So, when our mortal frame shall be disjoin’d,

    The lifeless lump uncoupled from the mind,

    From sense of grief and pain we shall be free;

    We shall not feel, because we shall not be.

    Though earth in seas, and seas in heaven were lost,

    We should not move, we only should be toss’d.

    Nay, e’en suppose when we have suffer’d fate

    The soul should feel in her divided state,

    What’s that to us? for we are only we,

    While souls and bodies in one frame agree.

    Nay, though our atoms should revolve by chance,

    And matter leap into the former dance;

    Though time our life and motion could restore,

    And make our bodies what they were before,

    What gain to us would all this bustle bring?

    The new-made man would be another thing. ” — Lucretius

    !!!!! Cheers !!!!!!

  10. Pingback: Day 577: Dopey | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  11. I wasn’t able to get Jean-Luc Ponty’s video to open until just now but — it was absolutely in time to put a smile on my face and some jazz in my step this morning. Thank you.

  12. Happy to see the last quote there too. 🙂
    Love the e-message to you. What is that from?
    Happy Friday Eve – Happy almost 3 year work anniversary! 🙂

    • RoSy! Thank you for all the thoughtfulness packed into this short comment.

      The message you asked about was on my pager, from a wonderful woman who was working at the front desk. Because none of my patients had showed up the day before, I had said to her, “Nobody loves me!” When my next patient showed up, she texted me that great page message.

  13. Pingback: Day 688: Multiple times | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Pingback: Day 1168: Times | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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