Stuck on Time

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Why is it that time is such a hangup for most everyone? The phrases and cliches’ abound. “Time is on my side.” “No time left for you (an old Guess Who song). “No Time to Die,” a film coming in 2021, “Time” magazine, time flies, in the nick of time, only time will tell, a waste of time, only time will tell, “I lost track of time,” I’ll have it in a jiffy, saving time, and I ran out of time, time’s up, and then there are a plethora of quotes too.

We feel the time pressures for all the added commitments on our calendars with the holiday season upon us. We take time to shop. Even shopping online takes time. We still go to selected dinner parties or out to dinner at a favorite restaurant despite the coronavirus. For many businesses, it is the fourth quarter that makes or breaks the company goals. It is striving to succeed that takes up precious time.

A new year is soon upon us, and so we think about the future. We take time to look in the past and reflect on what a year this has been. Then we make time to look into the future. What is 2021 going to be, and what’s it going to be in it for me.

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We get so wrapped in our work or play or spending time with others, and then the question arises, “What time is it?” No matter how you want to look at the time, the time is now.

Let’s make it clear, and one doesn’t want to ignore our past. As philosopher George Santana said, “He who cannot remember the past is condemned to repeat it.” There is a tremendous distinction between learning from the past and living it. Living in the past may harbor old disappointments, resentments, or bitterness. Then too, if the past was glorious but now one struggles, attempting to relive those great years does nothing for your present.

Imagine being in a country scene on the shore of a gorgeous lake with hills in the background and surrounded by beautiful pine trees. When looking strictly into the past, you look from only one side of the lake. When rowing to the other side of the lake, you get an entirely different view. Getting in the boat and rowing requires energy to see the past and live in the current moment. It is only by living in the present that one can transform from one emotion to another.

It may be fun to dream of the future. Have you thought about the future? You find yourself getting wrapped up in a slew of “whens.” It becomes when I get promoted when I get the new job, when I have children, when the children leave home, when I retire when I win the lottery jackpot, and on and on it goes. “Whens” become endless.

Legendary singer Frank Sinatra crooned “Forget Domani,” a song from the 1964 film The Yellow Rolls-Royce lyrics offer profound wisdom in a positively light-hearted tune:

Let’s forget about tomorrow

Let’s forget about tomorrow for tomorrow never comes

Domani, forget domani

Let’s live for now and anyhow who needs domani?

The moonlight, let’s share the moonlight

Perhaps together we will never be again

Ah, che luna, oh, che mare

We can predict the future, anticipate, and wish and hope for our future, but we will never know how things will turn out. The future is always unknown. Be assured, too, that no other person has an edge of know what will or will not happen.

We learn from the past so as not to repeat it. Then too, wishing for a better future is not a wise move. We know we should live in the now. So then, what do so many well-intended achievers do? They purchase time management courses with hopes of better prioritizing their multitude of commitments and using time effectively.

Time management courses possess a colossal drawback. Ironically, time management teachers do not teach time management effectively. We know life happens. How do you manage those unexpected events that pop up? They weren’t on the to-do list, so do you ignore them? Some get so obsessed with their plan that they become oblivious to the world around them. How many events or opportunities do you miss because your to-do list enslaved you?

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Let’s get to the bottom line now. Indeed you notice that if you want to do something, you find the time. Conversely, when you don’t see the time, it usually is not that important. Most everyone has an innate ability to prioritize what is essential without a personal time manager.

Instead of living in the past or dwelling on the future, stay laser-focused on the moment’s opportunities and possibilities. It is living in the moment, living in the now, that your future will be a winning one. A winning a positive prospect for you, for family, for friends, and colleagues.

Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.

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