The all-too-familiar idiom, “time flies,” or its less common Latin counterpart, Tempus Fugit, is not just a fanciful way of describing the passing of time, whereby one can envisage time as a sort of number or clock that seemingly floats around on a pair of cartoonish, cherub wings. The reality is far less provincial. “Time flies,” is more a euphemism for FUBAR – the final hooray of man’s inability to comprehend the mystery that is life. Of course we all love to imagine our existence as some sweeping romantic caricature, with oversimplified gestures of meaning and purpose. This makes our heads hurt a little less. But unfortunately, life does not afford us such simplicities. So we go back to drawing board. What do we make of something we can’t reasonably understand? Maybe there’s something to be said for Osho’s laughter for prayer – why be so serious when the confounding thrust of life comes straight out of the realm of the laughable? Time, being the principle component of life’s basic conundrum, eludes even the most astute and aware, stockpiling our need to shrink wrap and stamp it with a cliché we can all artificially accept, (at least for the time being). As we shuffle awkwardly into a new calendric year, beleaguered by those unavoidable backward glances to past dates and decades that have all but disappeared into obscurity, we are confronted once again with a basic proponent of being: time. So what do we do with it? What is our relationship with time? What is our philosophy of time? How does time fit into our lives and how do we use it?
The idea that time is relative, stems from the experience of time itself: how one ideally interprets the time one spends. Some seek life experience at all cost – pushing the boundaries and challenging the senses, while others opt for a more classical education, making all the necessary stops along the way by fulfilling their cultural rites of passage. Then there are those mavericks of society, who enjoy the anything in everything: silence of contemplation, din of human tenacity, complex of nature, reckless abandon, unquenchable quest of knowledge, and so forth. Despite how, why or what propels certain peoples to seek certain ways of living, the premise is simple: whichever life portfolio one chooses, dictates the way time is experienced and reflected. The question of New Year’s resolutions therefore inherently lies in the question of diversification. If we choose to diversify our lives by seeking new experiences, new wisdoms, new networks, new adventures and new schools of thought, the rejuvenation of a new calendric year will simply hallmark that invigorating process. If, however, we choose not to diversify, enjoying the sedation of regular routine and the shelter of repetitive action, we are, in a way, creating a slipstream of time, in which all memories merge into one continuous torrent of consciousness, whereby time is felt as “flying” or fleeting rather than fulfilling. Of course this is all easier said than done, while most of us have, what is known as, “responsibilities” – the giants of our lives that tower in the face of self-realization, (remember healthcare? Care insurance? Mortgage payments?)
Unfortunately responsibility has gained a rather notorious reputation in the Western hemisphere, particularly in North America, where an emphasis on materialism and capital gain, have made us inherently weak, feeble-minded and perpetually broke. As a result, we self-medicate through reality TV, talk shows, social media, online gambling, YouTube and so forth, all of which we collectively mistake as real-time or real-life. In this sense, the Internet has made us false gods and pseudo rock stars – an illusion that may very well be the greatest crime of the modern age. In all actuality, responsibility has never been a burden to mankind; it has, rather continuously served as a sail for reason, a bridge for spiritual gain, a gift of consciousness, a boundary of hope, and a home for personal meaning. Rather than a debt we must pay, responsibility is respect for life itself, for the processes we choose and for the time we spend. Equally as gratifying and diversifying as an encyclopedia of all-things new, it seems responsibility is the bloodline of humanity. So where did we go wrong? How did we become so lost in our responsibilities, that we in turn, lost sight of its true significance, of its deeds and indeed, of our own diversification?
While it may seem impossible to have a diverse life profile amidst all that responsibility, there is, in fact, another way around it. Firstly, by accepting that work, money, payments, bills, and so forth are all part of life’s journey, (which essentially leads us to greater wisdoms and causes), our anxieties will evidently ebb away. Secondly, it is important to consider the multifaceted nature of diversification. If we want to spend time in real-time, in present-time, where time moves as time should – with equal measure and substance, then we must seek conscious expansion through all levels of being, (that is, spiritual, physical, mental, emotional). Like the spark of a kindling flame, we create friction for energy. This means: proceeding with passion and re-establishing equilibrium of benevolence, honesty and empathy; engaging in activities not just for the sake of being active, but to motivate and inspire; removing ourselves from the mundane routines by travel and experience; and forging new alliances and pathways that can lead us to different schools of thought. In this sense, deeper meaning comes from the present consciousness of one’s time, rather than the idea of something else, past or future.
So why not embrace the diversification of life’s portfolio this New Year? If we diversify the way we meet new people, the way we think, the way we creatively construct and the way we conduct our day-to-day, we will no longer need New Year’s resolutions, because we will ultimately be resolved. If we continue to change the landscapes of our lives, time itself will slow to a steady rhythm that we can dance to, sing to, make love to, and rejoice within. If… we might finally be able to leave the idioms of time behind, the past and the future, to revel in a newfound prolonging of the joyful and resounding present.
- Elizabeth Cucnik