Time stoppage. Everyone in the modern world -- at least in our crazy-making fast-paced American culture -- wishes he or she had more time. If someone could figure out a way to bottle time (à la Jim Croce) then that person would be richer than Bill Gates, and even Bill himself hasn't figured THAT one out.
When I was a life coach, my clients' most common complaint was "not having enough time". To which I responded (in nicer language of course): "That's such a load of crap!" Because we have fooled ourselves into thinking we need more time when that's not really the case at all.
Time is not the problem. Time is not our enemy. Some people even question whether time really even exists at all, or whether it's something we have manufactured to create the semblance of order in our lives.
Young children have no concept of time. To a little child, there is no difference between today, tomorrow, last Thursday, or next Christmas. Everything is about the NOW: what's happening now, what can they do now, why can't they have that cookie now. Maybe if we were focused more on making the most out of the "now", like children do, we'd be less freaked out about the passing of time and its perceived impact on our lives.
But if time is not the reason we are so stressed out and rushing through our adult lives, then what is? Here's a news flash: WE are the problem. We have created lives and societies and technologies that push us to go faster and do more with the same 24x7x365 that we all have available to us. We've kidded ourselves into thinking that the more we pack in, the happier we'll be.
But most times, the opposite is often true. The more we DO manage to accomplish in a day, the more we seem to think of all the ways in which we are NOT accomplishing as much as we wanted to. We rush to and from work, and while we're at work we're rushing to do more with fewer resources because our work demands speed on a budget. We rush our kids through a huge whirlwind of activities, thinking the more active they are, the better off they'll be in life. With what "free" time we have, we pack in the grocery shopping, household chores, and if we're lucky, a movie or some time with friends. It's all just becoming one big blur.
Sure, we're all busy, and most of our busy-ness is legit. It's all part of being an adult and having responsibilities. But some people seem to prefer complaining about being too busy to actually doing something about it. They wear the chaos in their lives like a badge of honor. Let's be clear: being busy just for the sake of being busy doesn't make you better than someone else. It doesn't make you smarter. It doesn't make you more deserving of accolades or a promotion or respect or love. I've known people who seemed to want to make a career out of appearing "busy" because they really did believe it somehow made them special. But when it came right down to it, they weren't any happier and their lives were not very satisfying to them.
So when it comes down to it, I don't want to stop time or "manage" time. (I do, however, sometimes have fantasies of having my 25-year-old body back, but that's "turning back" time, a subject for another day.) Right this minute, what I'd really like is for time to speed up just a bit so I can be IN Paris and skip over all the "busy" stuff I'm doing to prepare for moving to Paris. And time cannot be managed; how can you manage something that is either finite, or that doesn't exist at all?
No, I want to manage MYSELF better in order to make the best use of my time; SELF management is the key. Making better choices. Deciding not to take on more than I know I can handle: following the motto "Underpromise and Overdeliver". Rediscovering what "quality of life" and "success" really, but by MY definition rather than by bowing to what this crazy, chaotic society has been dictating to me. Choosing to put my health and well-being over "being productive" if I have to. Learning how to stop and notice the world around me, and to appreciate it more. Living each day as if it were my last. Being IN the world and OF the world rather than just ON the world.
That's what I'm hoping to do better, when I move to Paris. I want to step out of my element, and in so doing, become an observer and perhaps learn a new way of BEING, instead of focusing so much on the DOING. It's the one "American" quality I'm hoping to lose while I'm over there.
Time will continue to be whatever it is; and whatever it is, it won't change. Only I can change.