Mentally, time is something I’ve been conscious of all my life. My family of origin was filled with watch carrying or wristwatch wearing people who paid lots of attention to time. From my tenth year through the sixteenth, my mother and stepfather had a small grocery store open seven days a week. Our days back then revolved around what time the store opened and when it closed.
In rural Alabama where my roots are, even farm daylight is measured between waiting for sunrise and hurrying to beat sunset. My profession of decades has kept me focused on time by the minute, either filling it with music or an advertisement on radio stations. Today I wear a watch if I am out and tell time at home by a clock in every room. I even collect old clocks.
I have always been conscious of time’s coming and going, but in its measurement I have been focused on the passing of time rather than any particular moment I was within.
About the psychology of time awareness, J.W. Brown of the Department of Neurology at New York University Medical Center wrote: Each mind computes the measure of time passing and duration from the decay of the… present in relation to a core of past events …a Self in a state of becoming, a Self that travels in time like the crest of a wave, always in pursuit of a future just beyond the grasp of the present.
That’s heady stuff and describes where I used to be.
No longer will I live every minute beyond my present. My awareness shifted yesterday when I became aware of time; not just conscious of its horizontal passing but aware of the largeness of particular moments. With one full taste of the “now” I am changed. When I witnessed firsthand the height and depth of the present, time slowed for a little while. Heightened awareness of “now” made time bigger and last longer. I did not suddenly have more time, but what time I have has become larger.
Now I understand what it means to “be the master of one’s own time”. Even a few minutes each day of such clarity about ‘time’ gives new direction to my life. I am grateful for such insight. It is life changing.
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or,
in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same,
there are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
I hope you make the best of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of.
If you find that you’re not,
I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
From “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by Eric Roth