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Living by the clock by Elizabeth Horner

What significance does the tick of the clock or the sand trickling through an hourglass have for anyone?  It is us humans that have created the concept of time.  Our advanced brains have given us the ability to affect nature--- to farm, to build, to invent machines--- and from that came our desire to structure our days.

Other animals don’t have a need to set family dinner time between 6 - 7 p.m., bed time at 10:00 p.m. on school days or wake up time at 6:45 am.  There is not a specific event, like their eighteenth birthday when they officially become an adult, ready or not.   And as far as humans know, other animals don't have a way of communicating the lessons of history and analyzing the future using complex historical data the same way humans do.   Birds may know when and where to migrate at certain times during the year but it is not that sort of exactness that human beings follow.

Humans have found a way of making our lives more efficient, more productive, and hopefully more meaningful, by going by the clock--- but only by training ourselves to push the limits of time farther and farther back and always striving to squeeze that extra hour out of the day.  This is not a bad thing since deadlines and time limits are mostly what move human beings to get the work done and achieve even long-term goals through steady progress.  But time can be a relentless enemy too.  As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad for you, even if the intent is good.  It would be great if we can press a “pause” button anytime we need it --- long enough to recall the reasons why we are scrambling through life.

I said earlier that humans created the concept of time and therefore, I believe that we have the ability to guard against the pitfalls of over-extending ourselves.  It could be five minutes or an hour, or a day but every one of us is capable of “making time”, or “finding time” --- to stop and smell the roses, if we choose.  It starts with prioritizing.  Knowing what needs to get done and in what order, it makes it simpler to manage tasks that way.  It is also easier to start something once your mind is already going in that direction, and that initial step can be a boost that can make a difference in accomplishing or not completing your tasks.

I also believe that since time is a mind-set, students like me can turn our thoughts to all the good things that will come to us with time: a high-school diploma (and maybe a trip to England, oh, please Mom), our college experiences, our dream job, marriage, the home that's been sketched in our mind --- and just all that gained knowledge as we travel through time as we make our way into the adult world, hopefully wiser!

Time has been going on long before we were born, will be going on long after we die--- what we are responsible for is not watching its progress, like a little kid waiting for the minute hand on the clock move.  It is making the most of it, enjoying it, while living it!

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