There are so many things I’d accomplish if I just had more time. I’d finish my novel, my house would be clean and I’d have a rockin’ hard body. There would be a shorter pile of books next to my bed, and I’d master that excruciating violin etude I’ve been working on for the last six months. Six months. No joke.
I convince myself that time is a wild horse and if I could only break it, I could hurdle over the fences and fallen logs that block my way. I try to lasso my hours with my Google calendar, plotting and allotting, but having a rope isn’t enough if you have lousy aim. It doesn’t help that lately I’ve had the attention span of a gnat. I blame menopause for that one.
Time, however, is life’s big red herring. I used to tell that to my clients all of the time. When consumers say, “I’d floss my teeth/dust my furniture/read books if I just had the time,” they are lying. Not to me, but to themselves. The truth is, that if I could magically give them another hour each day, they wouldn’t spend it doing whatever I was asking them about. They’d watch an America’s Next Top Model Marathon or play Farmville.
I’m no different. I’ve been known to play Angry Birds until my phone was near dead and my hands had lost circulation. In fact, I have to turn the sound off, or I’d never stop. The oinking pisses me off. It’s like the pigs are gloating. My son (who has been known to lose a few hours to Call Of Duty) gets annoyingly preachy and calls me an addict. My response? “I’ll quit once I pass this level.” I am also lying.
Time is a more than just a measure of moments that pass through the gateway between present and past. Time is the currency in which we measure the value of activity. So does that mean the entertainment provided by an America’s Next Top Model marathon is more valuable to than flossing? That Angry Birds tips the scale versus finishing my novel, or pinning down that etude I’ve come to despise? I really hope not. So why don’t I use my time better? It’s about fear.
It is far easier to slingshot parakeets than it is to face the truth that I might invest a lot of energy and personal esteem into dreams that might be out of reach. That I might give it my best, and still far very, very short. It’s more soothing to the ego to say believe that time is my nemesis rather than my inexperience. Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft. If that’s true, I have a ways to go without a horse. Putting it off won’t help. The pigs will have to wait.
And after I’m done writing for the day, I’ll finish that etude. If I can find the time.
Photograph – Eternal Clock by Robert van der Steeg