Running Out of Time

“True connections between family, friends and colleagues can not be compressed down to tightly scheduled ‘quality time.'” – The Tyranny Of Modern Time II

This was almost exactly my thought as Natalie and I wrapped up an evening filled with fine food and fun friends yesterday. While I was comfortably filled (maybe a little over-filled) with the cuisine and pleasantly stimulated by the conversation, I couldn’t help but sense a twinge of sadness at parting so soon. It’s seldom, almost never anymore, that I get to spend what I feel is enough time with friends. Enough time for fleeting thoughts to be remembered. Enough time for really interesting stories to be told. Enough time for the silence to lose its awkwardness. Enough time for doubts and struggles to be revealed and shared. Enough time for understanding to develop.

It seems that everyone in my culture rushes through life. Rushes to get things done on time. Rushes from one meeting to the next. We race to the end while trying to fit everything into today. But why all the hurry? Why can’t we pause for more than a short, scheduled block of time now and then? If I knew the answer I probably wouldn’t be writing this. But here I am asking. I’d like to find  a way out of this rat race. There has to be a way to live without feeling trapped in a never-ending cycle of cramped time slots. I want to cultivate relationships without having to jam them into left-over breakfasts and suppers.

I’m partially paralyzed by my fear of losing…what? I’m not sure, the race? I’m afraid if I relax I’ll drop the ball. Maybe I’ll lose my job (if I don’t show up on time) and my house (if I can’t pay the mortgage). Maybe the projects I’ve started will remain unfinished. Maybe people will see me as a failure. And if my fears of losing my own security aren’t enough, everyone I know is living in the same culture with the same demands on their time. Would I be alone if I found my way to the sideline? Am I alone wishing I could spend more time on relationships and less time fitting my life into a schedule?

6 Responses to “Running Out of Time”

- Eric Miller

Almost invariably we learn this ‘no time for anything’ in the quest to ‘make a living’. One of my co-workers told an interesting anecdote this morning in maintenance meeting. When he was a teenager he lived with and worked for an older Swedish man that had a dairy and farmed 300 acres in Montana. He never would work on Sunday beyond taking care of the cattle. The next neighbor farmed over 1000 acres, potatoes was a big thing for him. That man and his hired crews worked 7 days a week. Roy said the old Swede would often remark about that other farmer “he works 7 days a week and he’s still never done with his work”. Somewhere in there is a commentary on trying to get ahead. I admit to twinges of sadness when I can’t take time to enjoy others because my employer is buying the main chunk of my day and I can’t just stop and be friendly. The tyranny of efficiency. As someone else said, hurry is not of the devil, it IS the devil.

- Q.

I’d love to leave a message, but I’m just too busy…! Q.

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