I was up early this morning and was looking out the bay window of our kitchen. This was the view: sunrise over the lake. I went outside barefoot in the 40° weather and took this picture. I used to look at the sunrise and sunset all the time…
I’ve been think about something lately. Unfortunately, time determines my disposition much more than I would like for it to. When I was home for two years finishing my doctoral dissertation, I had plenty of time. Lots of time to reflect. Lots of time to take an extra ten minutes to accommodate my kids’ whims and join in on the folly. Lots of time to read. Lots of time to look at all the cotton fields around our neighborhood grow to harvest.
Now, I don’t feel I have that same amount of time. Things that my children did previously irritate me now because they make us late. I just don’t feel like I have as much time to watch the seasons change. I still read heavily by most people’s standards, but not nearly at the rate I would like to. I find myself “pushing back” against the things that take my time, whether it be a longer-than-normal red light or a child who believes being “high maintenance” is a worthy goal. I’m the same guy, believe the same things, love my children the same way. But now there’s a difference: time. In this way I’m still adjusting speeds of life. And at the moment, I see the biggest enemy in my life as the tyranny of the urgent. One of the things that angers me the most is realizing I had free time and that I squandered it on things that have no real value or permanence.
There’s a pretty good book out there – Stephen Bertman’s Hyperculture: The Cost of Human Speed. This should be required reading for all those who believe life should be driven in the “fast lane.” The problem is that we’re not created to live at our present cultural speed. Bertman dissects this very problem and the relational, physical, and emotional problems it creates.
I don’t need to fight a whiny kid or a task list or a reminder chime on an Outlook calendar. I just need to fight the feeling that I have to rush everywhere I go. My relationships suffer for it. And though I have heard the phrase I used for my title used in a different way, it’s in this present sense that I struggle with it. Time can change and man or woman when they respond to the threat of time loss at the expense of healthy life choices.