It seems that, in today’s society, time has become one of the most valuable assets. People at work and home worry about making the most of it and not wasting it. We try to make the most of our available time when we enrol in a one month-intensive course to learn a language (see my article connected with this) or when we lose our patience when someone makes us “lose our time”, either by waiting at a supermarket queue or by being stuck in a traffic jam. We try to make the most of our time when we find it difficult to arrange a time and date to meet a friend or when we worry about not being able to do all the things we’’ve already arranged to do.
We generally cope with this type of stress by setting priorities. Setting priorities in life gives us calm and relief. We know what comes first in the list and we can, therefore, manage our time better. However, I think it’s important to bear in mind that our schedules aren´t set in stone and that we can modify them to suit our spontaneous decisions and desires. Sometimes not being able to achieve all our week’s goals may make us feel a bit disappointed or frustrated. It may undermine our self-esteem but it’s important to remind ourselves that what we organise and schedule is our intention and that plans don’t always go as we plan them. We need to learn how to cope with uncertainty and the unexpected.
One question that I’ve recently asked myself is: “Has our society become obsessed with time and the passing of it?”. It seems as if we wanted to encapsule and preserve it for ever. This is clearly illustrated by the idealisation of all that is or looks youthful or the fact that no one listens to anyone anymore. Everything, from our meals to our learning progress, has to be quick and ready in no time because, ironically, we don’t have any time to lose.
So, maybe, it’s true what Momo (Michael Ende’s famous novel) says and our attitude towards time is transforming our world into a dark and less humane place to live in:
“People never seemed to notice that, by saving time, they were losing something else. No one cared to admit that life was becoming ever poorer, bleaker and more monotonous. The ones who felt this most keenly were the children, because no one had time for them any more. But time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart. And the more people saved, the less they had”.