If all we really have is time…

You have heard the old query… “If you had 24 hours to live, how would you spend them?” And I’m sure that thinking about this semi-regularly is probably a good idea. At the very least, it’s humbling.

Sure, I’d like to say that I’d go skydiving or something that I’ve always wanted to try. The fact is, I wouldn’t.

When you are a parent, it seems like a luxury to even CONSIDER doing anything for yourself for 24 hours… much less to actually DO it — even if those were the LAST 24 hours you had.

Heck, I’d be running around trying to figure out how to make sure my kids were ok once I was gone.

Besides, I reason, I’m at an age now that I’d probably break a leg or something if I jumped out of a plane to try skydiving and would spend my last few hours on earth in an emergency room. So, my future in hell would begin early.

If time is all we have, then why is it always so disposable, so hard to hold onto, and so “grabbed at” by everyone else? Why isn’t it more sacred? More appreciated? Considered more valuable?

Labor saving devices don’t really give us any more free time. Time management systems just frustrate us and require us to learn new software, carry more stuff around, and/or read a bunch of books on the topic from “so called” professionals in the time management industry. The fact that an industry has popped up around this should be a dire warning to anyone taking “time management” too seriously. I think “time management” is an oxymoron, like “quality fast food” or “fair taxes” but I’d have to study it more to be sure.

The digital world takes more time than the pleasure it offers us in return. We create and/or buy machines and services… EXPENSIVE machines and services… that we have to work longer hours to afford, to help us more creatively waste the time we do have. Think TV, think cable, think cell phones, think high-speed Internet.

Communication takes a great deal of our time, even if it’s been truncated into flat, textureless, flavorless, one-character words and images sent via thumb-presses over a cell phone. There is no time when we are “unconnected” and there is no “downtime.” We are omni-available. We are always on call. We are at everyone’s mercy and seemingly take no personal control to say… NO!

When do we rest… really rest… in this modern world? Why do we feel guilty if we want to unplug and become unreachable for even a few hours or *gasp* a few days?

I love my technology and I love my life, most days. But I do wonder what it would be like to disappear for some well-deserved “me time” — and I wonder if it would be worth the joy it would bring, of if I’d spend the whole time worried about what was happening while I was gone… or what I’d have to face and the messes I’d have to clean up when I returned.

Maybe it’s not a technology or a modern life thing… maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m incapable of slowing down and letting go. Maybe I need to begin smaller and learn to mediate for a few minutes a day. Maybe I need to take a walk (without the iPhone) more often. Maybe I need to carve out a little time each day that belongs to just me. Maybe I just miss the farm and need a “farm fix.”

All I know is that I need something, something peaceful and sweet, something refreshing and fulfilling, something selfish.

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