One Man Versus Time

I don’t have enough of it. I’ve got to much of it. Where does it all go? What happened to it? Am I using it efficiently? Am I wasting it?

What is it? Is it?

The sun rises, and it sets. The digits (or hands) change second by second, minute by minute, and hour by hour. Things change during this…change. There are many wise sayings regarding our relationship with time (none of which will I explicitly exploit, though perhaps inadvertently in this piece).

Does time happen to us, do we happen to time, or is there some interplay thereof? Am I wasting my time writing this? Can one actually “waste” time? Again, what is time (if it really exists)?

Many wise people have argued the existence of time. That is not exactly my point here. My point is to expose my struggle with time, and my current relationship to time.

I suffer from the contradictory condition of procrastination and fear of wasting time. Ain’t that something! It is somewhat exemplified in a verse in the bible that goes something like (I could look it up, but who has the TIME), “my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak” or also “I know what it is I should do, yet I find myself doing the things I know I should not do.”

In relation to time, I will find myself upon a block of time unplanned for. I will sit, wonder what to do, think of several things, and do none of them. I could even have a few essential “doings” in mind (errands, homework, chores, bills, etc) that I had forgotten about previously, and still neglect to do them, in favor of the lovely nothingness that I continue to stress over.

The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard had some very great things to say about choice (that damned thing), which leads me now to realize that my two conditions are not contradictory, but compounding. It is my fear of wasting time (fear of making wrong decisions) that causes me to procrastinate (fail to make decisions).

This brings me to the climatic issue (taking this micro-thing and applying it to the macro). As individuals we are failing ourselves and each other by submitting to fears rather than facing them, failing, changing, then succeeding (hopefully before we depart). The worst that can happen? I fail until the day I die. That’s horrible!

But it comes down to the old “are you going to happen to time, or is time going to happen to you.” You can have one of two tombstones: “I died fighting” or “Some won, some lost, I just watched.”

Should I read a book? Should I pray? Should I rake the leaves? Should I play a game? Should I watch a movie? Should I check my email?

Stop asking already and do something. If you should’ve done something else, what are you going to do about it now?

I’m talking to myself of course.

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2 Comments

  1. This may restate some things you have touched upon:

    I think it can be agreed upon that avoidance of pain is driven only by fear. Habits driven by procrastination are actions taken in order to avoid pain of any sorts – pain that comes from usage of willpower, punishment, fulfillment of obligations, etc. Procrastination is an action always motivated by fear.

    Being paralyzed by fear of wasting time is once again a behavior obviously driven by fear. Why must you fear wasting time? Did you give yourself life? Do you truly maintain it by yourself? Are you able to amply supply your needs on your own? Think of how you have survived all of these years thus far – was it you that orchestrated all of those circumstances that supply your daily needs? Accept grace for your actions – it is not you that gives yourself life.

    Is such and such the right thing to do right now? We know the commandments. But not everything is a dichotomy in this life. Do I wear blue shoes or green shoes? I’ll tell you – if you like blue shoes more, you’ll be able to love a certain neighbor more because of your preference for blue shoes. Do I play chess or skateboard? If you choose to skateboard, you’ll be there just at the right moment for someone else during your skating. And if you change your mind and play chess instead, you may run into someone that despises blue shoes during chess club and then see why there is more to life than your point of view. Do we orchestrate these things? No. Why worry? Someone knows all of the choices we’ve made, are making, and will make. Someone has also counted how many times we will change our mind too. And after changing your mind all of those times and things still yet come together, you’ll really know for sure that Someone loves you.

    If you’ve played chess for three months and find out you actually hate it, then stop! There was more value to your time spent doing so and more to take away than your Win/Loss/Draw record. If you went to a restaurant and found the food repulsive, don’t eat it and maybe try again some other day. These things are all meaningless on the surface, but Someone works out everything for the good of those He loves. He is the one who adds meaning to our passions. Actions driven by fear won’t allow you strive in any of this.

    We are not to abide in fear, but in love as 1 Corinthians 13 says. Imagine yourself returning to your home at the end of the day with no obligations to anyone or anything. You may do as you please. There is nothing to avoid. You have all of these things in front of you that you’ve trifled with only in fear. Why is it now so hard to choose something for yourself now? Because there is no fear to drive you. The muscle that is fueled from fear is strong, yet the muscle that is driven only by love has atrophied.

    Why cannot love drive what you do instead? Why haven’t you exercised actions driven by passion towards something rather than avoidance from another? Don’t run from fear – that leads to nihility when it’s gone. Don’t run towards fear – that’s vanity and self-righteousness. Run towards who and what you love instead – and don’t let fear stop you.

    I’m talking to myself of course.

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