In fact, time is a theory that humans made up.
It’s not real. I know what you’re probably thinking, “What do you mean, time is real and it’s passing right now. Right?”
The truth is that humans have created systems of meaning that create the concept of time. This is not to say that it doesn’t exist, but rather that it has no predetermined meaning until we give it a meaning.
If you really think about it, all that time is, is empty space—empty space that we get to fill. In reality, what we choose to fill it with is a result of what we deem most necessary and important. This idea has me thinking if what you believe about time is anything like what I used to believe:
“There’s not enough of it to do that thing I want to do.”
“Time is against us,” or “It’s running out.”
The idea to write this came to me as I was rocking my daughter to sleep, feeling her tiny, little fingers as I held her hand in mine, smelling her sweet baby scent, and listening to her breath. As the idea came to me, I’m going to be honest, I thought I better get her to sleep quickly so I can write all this down before it leaves me.
And then it dawned on me; it’s 5:30 a.m. and I have plenty of time.
It also made me think back to being at a friend’s house a couple of weeks ago and a conversation we had. I was telling them how I thought it was strange that at my core I am an ultra-sensitive being and that prior to having a baby I imagined I would cry at her every milestone or new growth phase. Yet, I haven’t, even up until now.
I thought about why that is when the truth is that I could watch a sappy movie on TV and cry almost instantly at an emotional scene. So, I thought why haven’t I cried for any of the emotional stages of my own baby’s development when most mothers I know have expressed they do?
It came to me suddenly as I watched my daughter fall asleep. It’s because since she was born, I’ve lived as near to fully in the present moment as possible and as I know how to.
What I’m about to say is true for society as a whole, but it is truly emphasized when you become a parent. There is so much societal conditioning and conversation around beliefs that implicate the idea that “time is a thief.” Really think about it.
How many times do you hear the people around you say things like, “I don’t have time,” or “It’s too late to do/become________,” or “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” or “I’ve missed my calling.”
All of these statements imply that there is a lack of time, and I’m here to tell you it simply isn’t true. The problem isn’t time. The real problem is what we’ve been programmed to believe about time.
I realized that the real reason I haven’t cried about my daughter hitting new milestones or growing older isn’t because I’m unemotional or because I’ve become detached from my true nature. It’s because every day I consciously choose to stay in and enjoy the moment that’s in front of me with her.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying. This isn’t about my choice to become a stay-at-home working mom. Presence isn’t solely about being physically here or there. If you’re a parent and work outside of your home that isn’t what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about being mentally and emotionally present and available.
Labor and delivery was a big lesson in this for me. When it came time to get admitted into the hospital because my contractions were getting stronger and closer together, I was struck with the enlightenment that this wasn’t like other times in my life when I could avoid doing a hard thing and look for an easy way out. Nope, it quite literally forced me to be still and sit with and breathe through the pain.
And here’s the thing, when I pushed for an hour, I was focused on pushing. When the nurses delivered her and placed her on my chest for the first time, I was focused on holding her and hearing her breathe. At no point in that period was I thinking about how I was about to face many sleepless nights ahead or wondering about how I left my bed unmade at home.
When she rolled over and when she sat up for the first time on her own, I wasn’t saying, “Now she must learn how to crawl,” or wondering if she will walk and talk on time. No, I was celebrating that moment of her rolling over.
That’s the problem with society: We’re either living in the past or living in the future, and we are everywhere but right here and right now.
We are literally everywhere but in our one precious life. It is a huge reason why I believe that so many humans needlessly suffer (and disclaimer: I’ve been there too). We’re never here nor there because we’re always in a rush to do the next thing and be in the next place.
I see it often in the women who come to work with me. They rarely stop to celebrate their achievements (until I bring it to their attention), because before they’ve had a moment to celebrate, they’re already thinking about the next thing they need to achieve or check off their list.
When I was still working full time, most days, I would get to work and back home and would not remember my drive, or even what I ate for breakfast. My mornings looked like frantically getting ready, chugging coffee as I grabbed my keys, and rushing out the door. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve locked myself out of my apartment because of this. I was rarely ever paying attention.
Think of this in terms of your own life:
When you’re spending time with your partner or out to eat with friends, are you truly with them, or are you on your phone scrolling?
When you’re at work, are you truly there, or are you thinking about the dishes at home that are in your kitchen sink and the pile of bills that are sitting on your counter that need to get paid?
When you’re drinking your coffee in the morning, are you actually tasting it or are you doing what I used to do—chugging it down so you can get through the next task?
If this is resonating with you, I invite you to try this:
>> When you wake up in the morning, listen to and hear the birds chirping outside your window or your refrigerator humming from downstairs.
>> When you brush your teeth, feel them getting clean and taste the mint from the toothpaste in your mouth.
>> When you’re driving to work, take in the trees and beauty around you. Notice the person on the corner waiting for the bus. Hear the words of the song that’s playing in your car.
>> When you’re home from work, look your partner in the eyes and ask them how their day was. Then truly listen with the intention not to respond but to hear their reply.
>> When you’re walking your dog, feel the cold air against your face. Smell the aroma of nature and the neighbor’s dinner that’s being made and coming out of their home.
>> When you get into bed at night, feel the warmth and softness of your blanket holding you. Hear the silence surrounding you and listen close enough to hear your heart beating.
This is what it means to be present. To use all of your beautiful God-given senses to notice and feel the entirety of our life experience from moment to moment. To fully engage in every moment.
We can’t escape time, although many of us do and will try.
It’s one of the reasons I believe that so many people turn to drugs/drinking, binge-watching TV, mindlessly scrolling on their phones, and get addicted to shopping, sex, work, gambling, and serial dating. There’s a laundry list of ways people are addicted to numbing out in an attempt to escape time and reality. I know because I’ve exhausted myself with all the things I just listed at different points in my life.
There is no escaping time or reality, I can tell you that.
So what if instead of trying to escape it, we used the time that we’re given with intention? What if we utilized the time that’s available to each of us right now to fill it with things and activities that fulfill us?
Time is space and we get to decide how we pervade that space.
Let me ask you this:
Would you look at time differently if you were doing more of the things that you love and enjoy? Activities that actually interest you or hobbies and passions that light you up? If you were honoring your truth and actively healing your emotional wounds? Sharing your unique gifts and talents and contributing to the collective in a bigger and more meaningful way? Serving others in whatever way feels fitting to you from a place of wholeness?
I know you would.
Time is not a thief. Time is what we make it. Time is simply space, and it is a gift, my beautiful friend.
When you start to treat time that way, life becomes more fruitful. Use the time you have right now to be present because presence is power.
When we spend time in our head thinking about the time that has passed or the time that’s left, we lose sight of the most important moment, which is now. So instead, revel fully in this moment.
You have the power to consciously create the time and space to be fully in your life—in your heart space. That is where true magic lives and true living happens.