How does one measure time? Really! Is it like having a set amount of “currency” when each person is born? Does it accumulate interest if you invest wisely? How old do you start to know what to do? What are the profit margins if you invest/save wisely? Does your childhood have an impact on losing/gaining “funds”? So many questions and too many subjective answers according to each person’s perception but especially according to their life experiences.
I know a few people that keep waiting for their “ship to come in”. Does that mean they have badly invested? Or does it mean they are sitting on a “nest egg” that eventually dissolves? Waiting for that lucky opportunity to come by. Envying others who “appear” to be happy and have fruitful lives. How is “fruitful” measured? It is evaluated according to that monster house you have or the children you have and grandchildren? Is it measured by how much you have helped people in your life despite the fact you may live in a shack…you are rich!
I remember in my mid-thirties, peers telling me how lucky I was to go back to university. Really? You call that luck to go to university, part-time raising two children and working at one to three part-time jobs and volunteering on 3 to 4 committees? No luck there, but hard work and perseverance, lugging psychology books to hockey games and cramming in as much studying when I could.
Then there are people who fight for free daycare,(although I do believe in a pro-ratio system) free university and free this and that pointing ugly fingers at people in the corporate world and lawyers for example. I remember asking one former colleague who had no desire to work more than 21 hours a week at 30 something of age. I could not understand that but then again, I come from a different generation, I guess. Here I am 67 and just starting to cut down my work hours to 21.
I do not expect government to pay everything for me nor do I appreciate getting overtaxed like we are in this province. When I mention that some of these corporate lawyers or business people may work a 16 hour DAY, some people just don’t get it.
Now how did we get to that place of judging life’s accomplishments?! Oh yes, time and how one may measure it. Hmm, I suppose you can waste “time” and miss out on “golden” opportunities. Not everything is “handed down to you”. Not everyone wins the lottery and for those who do, so many end up right back their original way of living a few years later because habits just die hard, don’t they?
Time seems forever when you are a child. Your parents at 30 something seem old and your grandparents seem way too old to imagine you will ever get there and great-grandparents seem to be a wink away from death…to a child I mean, of course.
Last week I watched my uncle as he moved slowly filled with arthritis and osteoporosis. He is 91. His head moves forward and his back is completely bent over as he moves tentatively on his legs that may give way any moment. I am only 23 years younger than him and I wonder if I could live like that. He is so determined and resilient despite the pain he experiences each waking moment. He has his partner to help him. She is already 90 but physically in good form even though her mind may seem to be slowly fading but whose mind is not at that age! You often have to repeat to her but then again when she was 40 or 50 or 60, she did not always listen very well. Heck my mind trails off when someone is talking to me for a while…my kids hate it! They say, “I can’t believe you’re a counsellor when you can’t even listen to me!” Well, on my day off, I suppose, I allow my mind to wander is the only excuse I can give. [chuckles sheepishly]
Listening is not always easy for people. I wonder if my aunt had ADD like I do. Of course I was never diagnosed in the 50’s but just labeled as a dreamer in class. My dear aunt is an artist and creative people can be pretty unique. In the 1940’s to 1960’s, good heavens, most youths did not get diagnosed with any form of learning difference. Why, even people with dyslexia slipped through the cracks in those days. How awful for those people who thought they were just not smart enough to be able to read and savour books like I did. I was a slow reader though and my mind could drift and I would have to reread a page a few times to get the gist of it. It was as if my mind had two or three minds working at the same time in that brain of mine, and all the chatter cluttered that space. I think that is probably the best way to describe me.
If I had to measure “time” spent reading chapters for university, I would guesstimate I took at least three times as long to study and write papers. But I got there eventually starting a new career at 39 years old! All the years prior, I did similar work but as a volunteer…imagine the pride and joy when I got my first “paying” job teaching in a high school for five years! After that, it got tricky to get work and so my uncle and aunt who are now in their 90’s encouraged me to not “waste time” since I was getting older and to start my career over in another province where there were more possibilities and politics was not as much in the way as it was here.
Within a few years, I fast tracked, yes, I was able to be in a place that I would gladly have volunteered…I would have worked here for free because I believe in the service. How lucky is that?
So in the past two decades, “time has flown” by so quickly because I spent most of my “waking time” working in a career I have such passion for. I volunteered as well but always chose areas I wanted to learn, grow and enjoy myself. So when John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I suppose in my case, I am living the life I was once so busy making plans for. And in the process of studying to get there, I was still advocating and volunteering for things I believed in.
Hmm, writing this little piece has allowed me to realize that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.
endless – infinite
when you’re waiting
a wink away
endless – infinite
in a place called “pain”
when you’re waiting
the mind crawls
a snail’s pace
© Tournesol ‘06/11/2019
Daily Moments – June 11 2019
Thank you to The Muscleheaded for posting Tennesse Wiliams quote which inspired this piece. “Time is the longest distance between two places.”