It’s really hard to make the most of time, isn’t it? The moment you embrace the belief that it is something to cherish and not squander, life becomes an unwinnable game of getting it right. And how do you get time right when it’s such an ungraspable thing? We can’t see it or touch it, we can’t slow it down or stop it, we can’t turn it backwards, and more often than not we fail in making it work best for us.
If time had a physical presence would we be any better with it? If at the beginning of our life we were apportioned our time in chunks of matter that we could attribute value to, would we spend it better? Five chunks of time might go to helping a lady down some steps, twenty chunks of time might go to helping a friend move house, or seventy five thousand chunks of time might go into doing your hair so the man you like might notice you. If we could lay our hands on time, if we could see our stores dwindling, could gauge when we were about to run out, would we be any better with it?
I constantly fret about my time; I feel guilty if I slack off or slow down. I don’t often let myself rest. As I grow older I resent people who waste my time. I don’t dawdle as much, I mooch and mosey less, and I calculate the best possible way of getting somewhere quicker, or the time I would have to leave to get somewhere so I can make the most of whatever I’m doing first. I leave as late as possible. I am not an early bird. I see earlyness as a thief of my time. I’m not always sure if this is a terribly healthy attitude to have towards time. I think it means I get myself stirred up when I could just relax. I focus on definite things rather than pass by all those slow moments of just sitting still and thinking and being, without any agenda or schedule. Perhaps it’s just age that encourages this in me: I certainly wasn’t this driven when I was in my teens and twenties. Perhaps it’s losing people and hurting and healing and trying to grab at all of life like it’s my last week on the planet. Perhaps it’s a mixture of it all.
I had two days in London this week. I’d booked some meetings in and thought it would be a shame to not take the opportunity of meeting up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while. So I booked myself up chockablock with nice things. For two days I had double lunches with friends, tea, cake, gin, business meetings, museums, cocktails, dinner, and two trips to the theatre. I felt on a high from the rushing, from the productive meetings which laid out the rest of my creative year in delicious blocks, and from the lovely pockets of time I had with my friends. I felt like I had truly made the most of those two days in a way that even in my most determined days I rarely achieve, that I had wrung them of all worth and value, had made the most of that unquantifiably valuable true treasure of ours, time.
And then of course I was also pooped and ready to lie down for two days straight. Which of course gave me the guilts, lambasting myself for having a dip in energy, and promising myself that I would stop being such a wastrel, right after this nap.