September 21, 2010

Trying to Own Time. ~ Sandy Clarke

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.

I watched a video recently that gave quite a profound thought: There is no time in life.

At first, I thought this was a little morbid, but when I contemplated further, it’s not a morbid point at all. If anything, it serves as a motivation to get things done.

However old you happen to be, you can think back two years, five years and so on, and when you think about the time from that point till now, it’s just a flash moment, quicker than a blink of the eye.

Whatever it is we want to do, some of us really spend so much time wasting time talking of the things we’re going to do and when we’re going to get them done. For the most part, we do this because we genuinely believe we have forever to get things done, but if you think back from a few years ago till now and you will realize just how fast time flies by.  You should hopefully come to realise that you really don’t have forever to go traveling, or learn that new language or start up that business, write that book or whatever it is you want to do. All things can be delayed except time.

Even the amount of time we have isn’t guaranteed in the slightest. Everyone knows this.  It’s just a shame few people actually realize it because if we did, we wouldn’t waste so much time procrastinating or focusing all our energies on things that really don’t matter.

To me, the ultimate delusion we have lies in thinking that we own time. It’s a horrible thought, but anyone of us could die tomorrow, or develop an illness or disease that restricts our ability to live, or leaves us in a state of degeneration. It doesn’t always just happen to other people; at some point everyone we know, including ourselves, will become ill and die and we can never know when.

As I mentioned earlier, the idea that there’s no time in life might, on the surface, seem an extremely morbid one, as does the inevitability of illness and death. However, if you take time to think about how we don’t have forever, how we can never know what’s around the corner at any given point, hopefully this is something that can motivate us and drive us on towards doing what we really want to do now, instead of always leaving it for “someday”.

The trouble with putting things off until tomorrow is that, after a while, you end up with a huge pile of empty yesterdays filled with time that you can never get back. And it doesn’t matter what you do: if you don’t use the time you have now, you can never get to use it again; the moments have passed and they’re not coming back.

Of course, a lot of the time, we put things off because of fear and uncertainty. You might fear that if you try this or that, you’ll fail immediately or spend a lot time and effort trying to achieve something only to find that it gets you nowhere in the end. The sad irony in this is that, by not trying or doing whatever it is you want to do, you fail anyway and as a result, you never get anywhere so therefore, what use is fear?

You might not succeed, you might fall flat on your face, but surely the greatest success in anything lies in the fact that you gave it a go in the first place? And anyway – there is of course every possibility of achieving the desired result…and wouldn’t you just kick yourself for wasting all that time worrying for nothing?!

Sandy Clarke is a 27-year old journalist and writer from Scotland, UK. Having worked for the Scottish Parliament and various newspaper titles, Clarke has a keen interest in current affairs and global politics and as a practising Buddhist, he also devotes a lot of time to spirituality.

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