I was reading an article recently about the value of time as it relates to stress and punctuality in our Western society. It seems the American tendency to be up tight about time is extreme in comparison to other cultures. Sometimes the day seems like people run around in what I call “ambulance mode” – tending to the urgent instead of the most important. Well, our standard is becoming a minority viewpoint when it comes to some values or traditions that we once embraced. Our nation continues to evolve into a true multicultural mix of equality and freedom for all. So maybe it’s time to reconsider our relationship with time?
“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” Henry David Thoreau
Well that’s a pretty free-spirited way to think about time! To Thoreau, time is like the water in the stream, continually passing by while we sit with our bait on a hook at the end of a line tied to a rod. I think his quote shares a vision of relaxation, spending time in an activity that so many enjoy and can relate to.
Time. We tend to…
We glance at a clock and ponder over a calendar.
Obligatory vs. discretionary time? Yes, we categorize it too. That’s a loaded one. Time can get messy if we become stressed when an activity takes more time that we anticipated and then cuts into something else we had hoped or promised to do. We have to make a decision – do I cut out on what I was doing before finishing to move on to the next, or do I complete what I was doing as that would be most efficient, then pick up the pieces of what was on the calendar. Either way, it is stressful to jump from one activity to another when we haven’t completed the task at hand, while the same stressed feeling is found when we endure to completion and are then late for the next.
I can tell you one of the challenges of working in foreign lands has been how the natives there value time in comparison to US. Many people who have traveled through the Caribbean for work will tell you the same thing – it’s difficult to accomplish tasks on schedule because the people there are more relaxed about time. It seems their carefree lifestyle transcends the need to get things done in a reasonable timeframe from our point of view.
I guess my point is this: Time is like an attitude – The more you let time control you the more frustrating your world may be (Click To Tweet). There is something that we can learn about ourselves by how we perceive and “value” time. It is one of our most valuable resources, but we are in control of how we use and perceive it, in so many ways.
How do you feel about time? Do you feel like it is passing you by like water in the stream? Is that good, or bad?
This is a very interesting post, Chris. Time has whacked me upside the head lately. I just turned 60 and suddenly realized that I’m on the last half of my life. It’s sobering to think that. But it’s made me focus more clearly on what I want to accomplish–especially in writing. At a writer’s conference last month we were reminded to let God show us how to count our days and make the most of whatever time He has given us.
Not sure that answers your question, but those are my thoughts anyway.
It’s terrific to see you writing this post. Hope you’ve enjoyed your summer off blogging.
Sounds like you’re right in tune with fishing in the stream!
I am glad to be back writing and feel refreshed, the break was a healthy one for me. Thank you Carol!
Time is a commodity- we only have a limited supply of it. Yet I think we need to learn to balance it between work and play.
Ecc is my “go to” book when I struggle with time. Each time I read it, I learn something new.
I love reading in Ecclesiastes, it is like fishing in the stream excellent point TC!