Yesterday is but a memory – regardless of how sweet or sad, it has passed us by and become history. Today is nearly done – who we are and what we experience will soon be a part of our past as it cannot become tomorrow. Only what we build for – what is in our “not yet accomplished” bucket – will inevitably (and undeniably) become today at some point in time, pausing only long enough for us to accomplish that which we intentionally act upon before it, too, fades into the past. Time is a precious (and valuable) commodity that far too many take for granted. We must value the time we have (recognizing and understanding that we have no guarantee of time) and use it to make a difference in the lives of others if we hope our time can be measured in more than minutes, hours and days.
Why is it that people tend to rush to judgment, hurry up to wait, and do ANYTHING but “stop to smell the roses?” Though time is seemingly in abundance when we have nothing to do, it passes far too quickly when we would prefer it to stand still. We seem to worry more about how quickly we can finish the race than we do about the joy found along the way – or even the satisfaction derived from simply crossing the finish line. People far too often worry needlessly about things outside of their control rather than identifying the things over which they have influence and acting upon them. We fear we do not have the time to slow down so, instead of appreciating the things around us we ignore them while driving relentlessly to some vague and often unidentified goal. We often find ourselves slaves to the very clock we so desperately seek to master when we keep ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion – confusing “busy” with “productive” as we measure efforts rather than results.
Many people complain about their lemons rather than celebrating their opportunity to make lemonade. The weather is too hot (yet the long winter will almost certainly bring complaints about it being too cold). I am too busy to exercise (several acquaintances were in accidents this past year that took from them the ability to freely move about – I am sure they wish “being busy” was all that kept them from exercising). Rather than finding satisfaction in all they have accomplished, some see only what has not been finished (excusing indecisiveness or inaction as being a lack of time) or what they wish they had (rather celebrating than what they actually possess). We have become a nation of complainers – bringing others down in order to make ourselves look better RATHER THAN elevating ourselves in order to pull others up with us.
Rather than rushing to judge others, take time to ask WHY someone acted a certain way (particularly if “that way” is different than your way so you immediately judge it as being “wrong”). Rather than expediting (and articulating) your condemnation of another’s unique, untested or unusual idea take time to see if YOUR perspective might be the root cause of your exasperation. Offer advice and counsel rather than critically dismissing another’s action as being worthless, wrong or misguided. Doing something for another because they may have done it wrong (or differently than you might have) provides but a short term “fix” as it changes only results rather than altering behavior. Providing fish gives someone a meal – teaching them how to catch fish provides a long-term solution. Spending time to make time is ALWAYS a good investment. Making time at the expense of another’s time is questionable at best.
Why hurry up to wait? If you are going to have to wait anyway, use the time preparing for the journey. You cannot control another’s behavior – only your own. If someone else is frustrating you by being late, use the time productively to think about how YOU might be able to change the situation. Is there something you can do that the person you are waiting for feels the need to accomplish before leaving? If YOU are the one who is late, call ahead to say when you will arrive. It will not make you early but at least your tardiness will not be holding others up. We are far too quick to blame and too slow to seek responsibility when we play the hurry up and wait game – often too busy assigning “fault” to seek a workable (and timely) solution.
When people rush to see how much they can do or see they often lessen the enjoyment of what they actually saw or accomplished. A better utilization of the limited time we have might be to find joy in the journey rather than accepting nothing but the accomplishment of a defined goal. Investing time in the discovery of a solution rather than seeking ONLY the satisfaction of accomplishment of a task or assignment will allow you to apply “lessons learned” to other situations in the future.
Some measure life by the number of breaths they take. Might not a better measure be the number sunrises (or sunsets) we can see as a testimony of our reality? Walk occasionally rather than running all the time. Seek solace in the cry of a gull or find joy in the laughter of a child. Though we cannot stop the passing of time we can stop chasing blindly the hands of time as they race relentlessly around the clock. The sands of time will not bury us if we become the master of our own universe by taking the time to appreciate not only where we are going but also how – and if – we chose to arrive.