It’s About Time!

February 12, 2010

A few years ago everybody was saying we must have much more leisure, everybody is working too much. Now that everybody has got so much leisure—it may be involuntary, but they have got it—they are now complaining they are unemployed. People do not seem to be able to make up their minds, do they?
• HRH Prince Philip, 1981 interview on BBC Radio

I don’t have any time today. Not this morning. I’m up early working and the day looms ahead with back to back to back to back to back meetings all day long. Time is on my mind. In 1914, Charlie Chaplin said about the movie industry, “I am going to get out of this business. It’s too much for me. I’ll never catch on. It’s too fast. I can’t tell what I’m doing or what anybody wants me to do.” Chaplin went on to make Modern Times, a 1936 classic about an assembly line worker struggling to survive in a modern, industrialized world. His character’s plight resonates with me.

As work intensifies and expectations increase, it’s difficult to feel that there is any time that is your own, truly your own. Even while most of us are relaxing, there’s always the awareness that there is something else we could—perhaps should—be doing. And yet, sometimes, it’s the relaxing that’s the most necessary and important thing we can do.

You’ll be old and you never lived, and you’ll feel kind of silly to lie down and die and to never have lived, to have been a job chaser and never have lived.
• Gertrude Stein, written in the year of her death

Write about time: at home, at school, at work, anywhere. What do you take time for? Long to have more time for?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
• Mark Twain


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