“If I could put time in a bottle…” “Time to say goodbye…”
“It’s the time of the season…”
“Let’s do the Time Warp again!” “I’ve had the time of my life…”
“Time after time…”
“It’s a five o’clock when the whistle blows, no one owns a piece of my time!”
“Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?”
As you can probably see from the array of songs I’ve referenced, I listen to a lot of genres. But while I could talk endlessly about my favorite beats, I want to instead direct my clever readers’ attention towards the one word that is present in all of these lyric clips: TIME.
Time is an interesting concept when you consider where it came from and why it is such a huge element in our lives. Think about the process: centuries ago the moon was used to measure time with what was called a Lunar Calendar. As humanity progressed, we witnessed the invention of sundials, water clocks, hour glasses, and eventually the two-handed clock for the purpose of harnessing passing time. All of these inventions were created so that man could not only monitor the world, but in the process he also found that he could measure his day, his year, and his life. Time eventually became so very precious since humans first became aware of the effort that it took to make a life.
In today’s society, we place so much value upon this concept that people are often prone to losing sight of what’s important in their life beyond the ticking seconds that they can lose. But once we learn of this concept that measures our life, we never forget it. I imagine time as a hovering monster on our shoulder, breathing its foul breath in our face that reminds us of its presence and constantly whispers about lost time that we learn to regret.
“My biological clock is ticking!”
“The deadline is tomorrow.”
“For the last time…”
“How long until you graduate?”
“You have two weeks to complete this project for a promotion.”
Anyone would think that humans should be pleased to know that time is concisely arranged – like uniform books upon a shelf. But in all reality, there is little pleasure to be had in the knowledge of knowing that your days are numbered, your breaths are counted, and your natural life is measured. However, despite this melancholy truth regarding the span of your existence – there is happiness and peace to be found if you take the time (pun intended). But seriously, while humans are scientific, critical, philosophical, and intellectual beings that find the concept of time to be fulfilling – we can find renewal and comfort in the concept of living in the moment.
Wait… another time metaphor? I know, I know – don’t close the tab yet.
You see, while man has measured his life with the theory of time, there is also a creative concept that allows him to pause time, manipulate it, bend it to his will, and even ignore it. What is this exciting, freeing concept you might ask?
A moment can never be precisely measured and that is why we turn to this concept when we are battered and exhausted because of time. We take a moment to breathe. We use a moment to collect our emotions. We need a moment for ourselves. And it only takes a moment to fall in love… (sorry, shameless musical plug there…) But this is the truth. Our escape from time is to simply ignore it. Now, please don’t take this as encouragement to run around irresponsibly and neglect the notion of day/night until you are arrested for disturbing the peace at 3 in the morning. Sorry, but that’s not my point. While I want to emphasize that time should be respected – we must be careful not to take that respect out of context to the point where we worship it. In the midst of our busy, time-consumed lives – it is important that we take plenty of these moments to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Take a moment now to look around – what do you see? A house that you live in and have earned from hard work? Maybe a room that are you are graciously allowed to occupy? Do you see the office that you were hired to work in? Or do you see other human beings – who populate your life and reveal to you the importance of contact?
Sometimes these moments won’t be so random. Often times, there can be specific instances where we need them: a moment from stress, a moment from sorrow, a moment from criticism, or a moment from care. I would like to share one of my favorite literary moments, my clever readers. This particular moment was penned by Walt Whitman – father of American poetry. And in this moment, the narrator discusses an instance where he chose to focus upon the sheer, simple beauty of nature instead of trying to contain it within concepts and ideas. As a literary and academic enthusiast, this speaks to me because I often have to remember to take a moment and enjoy the simplicity from which our complicated minds originated from.
When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
We need these moments for our lives but we also know that they aren’t free. That’s why the phrase is taking a moment, like a hungry thief in the night or a convict taking his freedom. The process of taking a moment is never planned or even acknowledged by our time-consumed society because this concept will appear selfish, uninformed, or even abstract to the general public. But despite the fact that this practice might seclude you in your mind for just a moment – it will gradually open your eyes to the preciousness of life that surrounds you. Only once you understand who you are and where you are, will you then be able to wholeheartedly connect to those around you.
So, look away from the clock or those glaring digits that run away from you, and just take a moment today.
I’ll see you again in the next chapter.
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” – Kurt Vonnegut