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We have the wrong type of time...
31 December 2019 . 4min read

It's a funny old thing. Sometimes there is too much of it, sometimes there is not enough of it. It seems to be somehow elastic.

Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into an essay about General Relativity. Although that would actually be interesting (for me) - But, it's not about me, it's about you.

Actually, this is about me, this is all about me, but I understand I need you to make it all about me... so... coughs

I was going to say something about looking at your watch here, but then remembered how so very yesteryear wearing a watch is. With that in mind, if you look at your watch and glance at the time, we seem to read it relative to another time.

Sure, it is 11:30 am, but it is really just 30 minutes until dinner time. Yes, it is 9:55pm, but it is actually just 5 minutes before the 10 o'clock news. On damn, it is 3:25pm and I am 25 minutes late for my meeting.

(I'm going to gloss over 'dinner' vs 'lunch' here; let's just say that I am correct, and move right along).

It is a curious thing. You can't touch it, you can't see it, but it has an overbearing presence.

In a wider context, we look at dates the same way. You should get this edition on 31-December-2019. Which we view as not a singular date in the calendar, but rather the day before New Year, the end of the Decade, the day of the party, or the day of regret. You see, it is always with reference to something else.

On such a date, especially on this date as the Decade draws to a close, we often take a moment to look back and ponder.

For myself, the last decade has been somewhat less than ideal, but don't worry, I'm not going to insert a long monograph about that; it is, though, through convention, a point of reflection.

As we look at where we are, and measure it against points in our past, we conjure up an emotional response; different for each of us.

To balance that, we also look forward to the imagined future ahead of us.

Based on the conjured emotions of both, the historical and future views will affect how we feel right now. They are lenses of differing magnitude that focus on our emotional selves.

So, we can see that the moment of time, and the wider perspective of date, are always read with reference to something else; past or future. It helps us function as humans. Indeed, that ability to understand future consequence and assess past experiences, separate us from most of the animal kingdom.

I'm sure where you can see where I am going with this? If not, then you need to work on your future prediction skills ...

"There is no time, like the present." is an expression that is both delightfully throwaway, and equally deep. Perhaps without even knowing, it manages to capture something rather special.

As we all run to a late-meeting, panic about a missed birthday, worry about our future, long for the past; we gloss over something - the present.

As we look in both directions in our life-timeline, we forget that we have another state - our present.

I have written before, within the context of travel, about how the addiction of destinations causes us to miss the wonder of the journey itself. The same thing can be said of time. We ironically spend such a lot of 'time' pondering, that we forget to enjoy the moment.

By any measure, our moment is just that; fleeting and unmeasurable. You can choose to view it in that vain, unimportant. You can choose to view it as a secret freebie in our existence.

I have long been fascinated by the in-between and the edges of existence. I have written about my perception of reality versus actual reality; that dangerous but also colourful expression of self.

Our modernist influenced society and pressures, talk about moving forward and looking back. We are coerced into ignoring the magical gift of the moment.

The stillness of existence; the point in our journey of life that is between the destinations.

It doesn't fix anything; it doesn't change anything. What it does, though, is create that third sense of self, which can often be a shelter from the frantic storm of life.

As we push into a new decade, try the present. It is the freebie of life and it is available to all.

Sometimes you need to take a moment for yourself.


Profile photo of Nigel Derbyshire

I'm a carbon-unit who writes; a Carbon Writer. Life & culture are my default topics, mixed with a little English wit & sarcasm. Full of mostly true stories, I occasionally remember to write them down. Found in a crowd, or contemplating in a corner. Habit of talking to anyone. Author.
- Nigel Derbyshire