Do You Have the Time?

source: Wikimedia Commons
Martin Pearman
I read an interesting article this morning on how different cultures view time. Unlike a lot of "pop" articles it went into a bit more depth, and it got me thinking
about how my own view of time has changed over the years.

First of all, I definitely have an American view of time. I abhor being late, as well as anyone who makes me late, and I never could understand how my European counterparts could drop everything and take a month off - without their laptops! I admit I kind of like their idea of a "lunch hour", but I understand they tend to work far later into the evening than I do. By the time they're sitting down to supper, I'm thinking of climbing into bed.

But pushing the deeply ingrained cultural views of time aside, my own perceptions of time have changed over the years. While I never start a day without an agenda, I'm not as slavish to it as I once was. I write down the things I want to do, prioritize them in order of importance, but then I don't sweat it when I only make it half way down the list. I used to think if I didn't finish the whole darn thing, my day was a failure. Needless to say, I failed a lot back then.

Now, I'll even take little detours from my list. For example, it's Saturday afternoon, and my next priority was laundry. But while I was gathering up the dirty clothes, my mind wandered back to that article, and this post was born. Instead of including it as a "to do" on my list — and probably never getting to it — I allowed myself to chuck the dirty clothes in a pile in the hallway and sit down at my keyboard. My younger self would never have allowed me so much freedom.

I've also changed the way I think about investing time. I've always been an advocate of investing in my mind, but when I was younger I did it with an eye toward how I could use the knowledge to advance in my career. Now, I gather knowledge for the sake of knowledge or to better understand the world around me.

For example, I'm about halfway through Don Quixote and just downloaded The United States and the Middle East: 1914 to 9/11. The latter is to help me put current events into their broader context, but I may never use the knowledge from the former. Although reading Don Quixote at the same time as studying the Middle East is interesting in the influence of the Crusades is still very much in evidence in Cervantes' novels.

Gathering knowledge for the fun of it, is far more enjoyable than gathering it to impress some boss. At this point, my fondest wish is to keep my wits about me until the day I die so I can keep it up until the very end.

Now back to the laundry...

No comments:

Post a Comment