Image: Kolbjørn Skarpnes & Rita Elmkvist Nilsen / NTNU & Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience. Shared under Creative Commons license
2020. A new year, a new decade. It sounds so futuristic to me! I remember when I was my older son's age, it was 1985. I was walking to school thinking what the world would be like in the year 2000. Today, 2000 seems so quaint.
I’ve been thinking about time. How we chunk our lives into discrete intervals, like years, weeks, days, minutes, seconds. This is useful: it helps planes, trains, machinery, computers run properly. It keeps us safe, synchronized. Imagine the chaos if traffic lights weren’t timed properly.
In our quest to be more and more efficient, do more and more things, we have less and less time. The funny thing is, the amount of time hasn’t changed. What we’ve chosen to fill our time with has.
We are not human doings. We are human beings. I read that somewhere.
I think we’ve lost some wonder and ability to view time as something more fluid. Time can feel different, depending on your situation. Think of when you do something you love. Think of when you’re bored.
All we have is the present. We live in the present. This doesn’t mean we don’t plan for the future, or honour the past. We do these things so we can live in the present. So don't dwell on the past. Don't get so caught up in the future that you forget about today.
Most of all, be kind to yourself.
I hope you had some time over the holidays to reflect on what’s really important in your life. I hope you had some time to unplug, go offline and get some fresh air.
I went sliding on the break with my family. Rushing down a hill, wind blowing in our faces, snow kicking up in our eyes, laughing and smiling with my children, it’s timeless. We had a huge snowball fight at the bottom of the hill. I play-wrestled with my kids and was transported back in time to when they were small children. I gave them a kiss on the cheek. They laughed. Big puffy snowflakes fell from the sky.
At that moment everything made sense. I had a vision: if my kids ever have their own children, I hope to be healthy enough as a grandfather to play and go sliding with them. It was a beautiful time, I was so grateful: my past, present and future all seemed to blend together.
Time had no meaning.
So the next time you feel frazzled, rushed or maybe even a little overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe. And think about what—or who—is most important in your life.
I hope you take the time to consider time.