Our use, misuse, and misunderstanding of experiencing time results in most of our frustration in life. Too many people go through life and feel they lack in memories of meaningful experiences.
Does this mean that some of us don’t have the number and kinds of experiences that others do? We certainly, more or less, have the same amount of time available.
I am not even trying to make the point (as valid and relevant as it may be) that some of us use time in a much more efficient manner than others. No, the point here is that too many of us become slaves to time and, in many ways, are oblivious to our experiences and opportunities.
Tracking Time & Not Experiencing Time
I am guilty of tracking time, but not experiencing time.
I have viewed time almost universally as a tool to measure my “busy-ness.” How many of us use calendar apps to measure the success of our day? The more tasks we write down and can check off, the more “productive” we are—or, so we think. Are we really being productive though?
Is Time Only Just a Yardstick?
Does time simply function as the measuring device of our lives? If so, then is that all there is?
Are we the trained mice waiting for our reward of having a checked off “To Do list?”—a static predetermined list that doesn’t change once we start the day (week, month, year?).
Do you ever think about a new goal or a new task or something that you “want” to experience or do, but you don’t because it conflicts with your already constructed list of goals or “To Do List”?
Time & Experiences
Is this how we ultimately determine “success” in our lives? Is this how we approach the concept of “goals” in our lives? Are we even aware of our experiences during the day as time passes?
Do We Pass Time or Do We Experience Time
Usually, the most important experiences are the ones we don’t pay attention to. This is where time takes over our lives. And, we miss out on some of the most important experiences in our lives.
I can prove it!
Practice Experiencing Time
As tedious as this might seem, for just one day, carry a small pocket notebook with you. Pay attention to the small events in your life.
- When stopped at the stoplight, look at the person in the car next to you? What did you notice? Did they turn and look at you? Did they smile? Did you smile? How did you feel? Jot it down.
- Was it cold out this morning? Did you feel the cold wind on your face? Did you hear a bird sing? Was there snow on the ground and did it crunch when you walked on it? Did this bring any memories to mind, perhaps of your childhood?
- DO THIS! Go for a walk after dark, if possible. Is it raining or snowing? Is the sky cloudy or clear? Do any memories come to mind from your childhood?
- AND THIS! (OK, so are you getting my point?) Yes, sometimes we have to retrain ourselves to do things we haven’t done in a long time. Pay attention to an experience that might give you a twinge of regret. It could be anything. For me, experiences that I have that cause me to feel regret have to do with my children.
Time Doesn’t Return For a Second Chance
This is what matters! If you are experiencing life and time without paying attention to your experiences, think about everything you are missing out on. Remember, time won’t return to the “scene of the crime” for another crack at the ring.
If Time is Our Master…We Confuse What Our Goals Really Are
As we have allowed time to grow to be our master, we don’t experience our goals to any real degree. In fact, we often confuse ourselves as to what our goals really are.
This past summer I took a trip through Nevada, Montana, Utah and Idaho. I had convinced myself that my goal should be a move to one of those states. However, I placed myself on a timeline and, as such, a move for the sake of moving became my goal that I needed to act on quickly. I put it on the timeline.
My “goal” wasn’t actually needing to move there. My real goal was, and is, to experience life outside of the torrid southwest metropolis. My goal was to change my experiences and how I feel about my experiences.
Experiencing the Time of Others
As we become aware of the passing of time by learning to pay attention to small experiences, something wonderful happens—we become more acutely aware of others. We become aware of their existence, their circumstances, their goals.
In short, we learn how to connect.
I want to hear about how you practiced becoming more aware of your experiences in your time.