Thursday, May 12, 2011

Time is Not of the Essence

People always talk about time. Mainly how they don't have enough of it, how much more they could do if they had more of it, how they never get everything done.

I've said it myself, many times.

And I've been wrong.

Time isn't the problem. Time just is.

Yes, it's been on my mind a lot lately because I feel like I have a lot of it.

Here I am sitting in bed, 10 hours alone, no responsibilities. Seemingly all the time in the world. Everyone who visits wishes for some of my time--ah, to spend a day or two in bed, to rest, to get things done (though, no one ever wants all approximately 60 days, unless they could spread them out. And I admit that isn't a bad idea.). And I totally understand that.

Except I'm not getting everything done: there are emails I haven't replied to, calls I haven't made, all sorts of projects I could do but haven't gotten to, books to read, shows to watch. And I'm not napping; I'm doing something on my list all day long. There is always too much. I want and desire too much, even of those things I deem priorities. But I'm learning as I am here in bed that I can be happy without so much of it; I'm coming to understand what my real short-list of priorities is--and none of them are "things." Though, of course, I have been depressed about some things I can't do and events I've missed. But the sadnesses that have arisen have often passed, especially because I try not to dwell since it can't be changed. I'm trying to enjoy what I can do, though it helps to know that this is rather temporary. Though I hope I could say the same if it were permanent. As Stephen Hawkings noted in a recent interview, "My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically."

I would love to say I could extrapolate all of this awareness of desire and suffering, to use the Buddhist terms, to life and the larger picture, to accept that no matter how long my life, chances are that I will feel that it isn't enough, that I will miss out on what I leave behind, especially with regards to our children (especially when I read posts like this). Still, perhaps recognizing this connection between wants and dissatisfaction, desire and unfulfillment, on a daily, monthly, even yearly basis, will help me embrace it on the grander scale.

But for now, for all of my friends who keep worrying about time and believing they could ever have enough of it to finish their to-do lists, I say, it's a myth. Time isn't the challenge. We are.

(Though, I do wish you all some rest and time in bed for yourselves; it can help many things.)

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