Time means different things depending on age

There are 24 hours in a day; seven days in a week; 365 days in a year. Yet quite ironically, we still never seem to have enough time for everything life demands of us.

The late Malcolm Forbes once comically quipped, “There is never enough time, unless you’re serving it.”

I remember as a young boy, time seemed infinite. Even when I was attending college, juggling my courses, extracurricular activities and an internship, I somehow managed to find time for everything. But today with each passing year, I find it more and more difficult to find the time required for not only the things we need to do but the things we want to do. I hear myself continuously saying, “I’ll make time tomorrow.” Sound familiar?

My greatest fear however, is one day coming to the realization that I haven’t accomplished any of the things I keep promising myself I will do. And just when I feel like I’m making progress, crossing an item off my to do list, a new one appears almost instantaneously. Life certainly has a funny way of running away from you, doesn’t it?

I’m often reminded of the extremes that exist in terms of one’s time here on this earth when I remember my grandmother. While it’s often difficult for me to find a moment to watch television or read a magazine without falling asleep on the couch, towards the end of her life she had nothing but time on her hands. I suppose this is one of the benefits of aging – retirement allots you the freedom to fill your daily planner as you see fit.

But there’s something quite ironic about both my schedule and that of my grandmother. You see while I would be overjoyed to have more free time to do the things I want to do, my grandmother lways wished she could fill her days with something more meaningful than just sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Funny how time, which has been defined as nothing more than an “indefinite and continuous duration,” truly represents different things to different people.

As children for instance we’re often impatient – longing for the day when we too can experience what it feels like to have a first kiss or drive a car alone. Then sometime in our 30’s, as we’re blowing out the candles on our birthday cake, we realize time is beginning to pass us by – our personal scorecard still falling short of our goals.

But eventually we all, with any luck, find ourselves at the forefront of the golden years. For some it’s the beginning of a new phase in life and yet for others it’s a haunting reminder of what life used to be – of family and friends who are no longer around to give our lives purpose.

Time, it seems then, is a topic which lingers on the minds of many – regardless of our age. And though often beyond our control, time is something we all could make better use of. Maybe it’s a quiet cup of coffee in the morning with the one you love, taking your child out for a special play day or an hour once a week to make someone lonely feel special. Finding the time to show those you care about just how much they are appreciated is immeasurable.

In the past, listening to stories regaling days from long ago would often bore me, but not anymore. These recanted stories from the past have led me to understand one fundamental difference between the days when my grandparents and great-grandparents lived and how we conduct our lives today. Life was a lot simpler back then and time was something you made for the people that are in your life.

Motivational Business Speaker Harvey MacKay has said: “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”