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Too many times a day I am caught staring at a clock trying to move the minute hand with the force and motivation of my eyes. Obviously the ideal direction of the minute hand depends on where I am and what I'm doing.
For instance, math class is 56 minutes but due to the fact that I only had four hours of sleep, I add in sleep deprivation and multiply the loathing factor of the subject in general to the seventh power. So really, I'm looking at a 2.8 hour class time with a clock that only carries 60 minutes. Time becomes slow and I can't make it go any faster.
However, summer vacation seems to always be missing a few weeks! (Where did the time go?) June, July, August, and a day or two in September end up feeling as if a month was a week and a week was only a day. Summer is freedom and with it can come 'less time.' How often do you check your watch when you're in the pool, or visiting Paris, or meeting new people at the beach? How often do you notice the minutes pass when you're having fun? Time becomes fast and no one can make it slow down; these are prime examples of how no one could possibly control the 4th dimension.
This past New Years Day weekend I went on a church retreat. In spiritual senses, the retreat was a religious journey for high school and college kids; however, I found much more from the weekend than just a maturity in my faith.
At the retreat, we were not allowed to have cell phones, watches, video games, television, internet or iPods. We were not allowed to know what time it was at any part of the day or night for the three days we were there.
The only form of time we received was in 'time limits.' They were measured in terms of our counselors holding out their hands in front of their bodies. For example, 'You have this much time,' was all we were told along with a hand gesture. We presumed that if their hands were held out roughly six inches apart from one another, we had approximately 15 minutes. We then assumed that a foot was about a half an hour, and if the counselors' hands were extremely far apart, then we figured we had a good two hours. However, we were only guessing; the time evolved in our minds, not from a clock, leaving us with limitless guesses of what the actual time was.
And although it was frustrating not to know how much longer we had at a certain activity or how long we could sleep at night (especially when there was no sun around to gauge any time of day), time soon became the least focus on our minds. Personally, I forgot about not knowing all throughout the day, and although I remembered at night, it did not bother me to not know precisely what hour of the day it was.
I did not know time for three days. I could not see time or have time. It was essentially stopped on the mountain we were on. I'm not saying that we existed without time ' that would be impossible. However, it somehow carried everyone else's schedules and plans for those three days in the 'real world' and skipped right over us. No one on the retreat was late for anything, though we were technically not early for anything, either. We were not trying to use the 4th dimension to fit our daily schedule, and therefore it gave us no reason to make us untimely for anything. Without time, we seemed to always be on time.
Where did the time go ' literally? The counselors said that we would not be told what the time was for the three days we were on the retreat. That was all that was said ' it was understood that time was now a privilege and in retrospect it was also pointless. Time was a privilege on the retreat. Time is a privilege, although we may not perceive it to be since it has become such an essential part of our busy lives. We, as humans, can live life without time. Think about it: we use time to get to our destinations and activities all throughout the day, and we use it to reassure our impatient selves that we will get through the day within 24 hours or less. However, we do not need time. We do not need time, just like we do not need our iPods, cars, or shoes. For instance, if it is possible to walk without shoes and breathe without our headphones, then we surely do not need a sense of time.
We use it, but we do not need it. In actuality, time is a burden. Those golden detention slips you get weekly? Yes, those would be time's fault.
The retreat was an awakening of how I was living my life: passing people by, too much in a hurry to say hello; sleeping in and then having an ambush of anxiety and having to hurry; getting exasperated at a one-minute stoplight; timing how long the radio's song would play until the minute I got home; worrying about nonsense in the future when I was supposed to be taking a math test. I was testing time over and over again - always trying to catch up to the infinite hour. But time was seemingly holding me back and keeping me away from my present. How could I use my time more wisely and forgivably, in the moment?
Looking back at my 2008 calendar, I see all the dates laid out and the agendas written in, but those were just things 'To Do' before anything actually happened. After time has passed is when we should worry about what happened. Why waste time planning days that we cannot control? September eleventh was just a day I had band practice and with hours after the day had woken, it was a whole different kind of a day, one that time could never even predict.
Time is not something to play around with; you cannot question it, because it just is. We move too fast to even appreciate what time we have left, and we constantly check our phones and watches and plan schedules like we will go on forever. Time will go on forever, but we ignore the fact that time is not in our dimension. We are simultaneously trying to exist in a third and fourth dimension and trying to use both Earth and time to sync our lives; we think that if we plan our schedules accordingly to time that we will have control of our plans however we will always be early or late to appointments and rendezvous for the rest of our lives, since time exists a facet away.
Sometimes we feel like time goes too fast; we would like to pause in the moment and go on living without it conflicting with our happiness. But more often than not, we are left with the feeling that time takes forever. It is up to you and me alone to realize that time is out of our control for a reason. I do not want to control time, and I would not want time to control my life; I am sick of the numbers on the screen and the hands that revolve around the clock. So right now, I'm O.K. with not knowing what time it is.