Precious Resource

by Steve on October 28, 2007

The one thing in our lives that we have total control over and yet can’t quite seem to ever utilize it fully is time. Its steady measure continues without our input, without our awareness. Awake or asleep, moving or still, sometimes in that hazy world in between.

How will we use it? We decide, with varying degrees of external influence, how we will spend our day. There are many forces that motivate us and drive how we manage our time. Most of us are paid to spend the majority of it laboring on behalf of an employer for forty-plus hours per week. That leaves roughly eight hours a day for us to do as we wish. We might spend part of that time catching up on work, or with family, hobbies, or the mindless slush that passes for network entertainment. One might stay awake a tad longer than the spouse and tap away at the keyboard writing, working on a book or a blog even.

In the beginning, the early years, the passage of time is barely noticeable. A single class in school seems to drag on forever. Then something disturbing happens as we get older: the constant ticking of the clock seems to get faster with each passing year until a whole day disappears like a short nap. Life speeds up as we start to slow down. Family, career, community, faith, and personal interests are just a few of the things that demand our attention and time. How we balance these demands ultimately determines our level of success as defined by personal satisfaction. As our lives evolve we are faced with choices on how we will spend our time. Periodically we must reallocate and substitute one activity for another – prioritize based on value. I’ve gone a week or two without posting, even considered walking away from this activity altogether so it came as no great shock when Cass cut us off last month. Then Cox & Forkum threw in the towel – political satirists that proclaimed they no longer had the stomach for politics. The most recent withdrawal from my limited feed reader was Lex, seems he’s “gone sinker” for a while. Maybe he’ll surface again. The comments on his departure are a tribute to the effort that he put forth for our enjoyment. Writing is not easy, it takes time and effort to offer up quality material especially with the frequency and depth that Lex was serving. Time that could be used doing other things.

Once you reach your mid forties you realize that at best you’re half done and you might be well beyond the half-way mark. No time to waste. Better prioritize and act before the clock stops. For me patience has become somewhat scarce – I have goals that I want to accomplish, both personal and in my work. Which brings me back to the subject of time utilization: if we don’t make changes that allow us to manage our time more efficiently then we are losing ground. To put it another way, if we don’t change but the world continues to accelerate, the net result is a loss. If we become complacent and static, the value of our time shrinks.

One of the most toxic conditions of the human soul is complacency. To simply accept the status quo as finite is tragic. Our spirit thrives on challenge; without it we become stagnant and ineffective. Some people seem content to live out the script of “Groundhog Day” where nothing ever changes. There’s a rather unpleasant stench associated with such a structured, repetitive existence. Without challenge and change we find mold and decay. True, there is comfort in the familiar, essential things like a soul-mate, true friends and one’s faith but these are the foundation from which to explore. Like an old solid house, the foundation remains intact while everything else is subject to change or renewal without which the entire structure eventually crumbles much sooner than it should have.

Time continues to pass regardless of our efforts. It feels no remorse if we could have done better nor does it sense any shame if we cheated ourselves by procrastinating. You can’t get it back but you can improve on how you utilize your most precious resource tomorrow.


Michelle October 28, 2007 at 17:49

You certiainly pegged it, Steve.
I find myself more and more turning to people and asking them if they find that time keeps going faster, the older they get. Most laugh, but a lot also knowingly nod their heads in agreement. And I don’t even consider myself that old yet!

I dearly miss Lex (already!) and so hope that he will find a way that works for him to come back. But its good for me to read posts such as this and be reminded of the legitimacy of what he’s doing, no matter what that final impetus was.

So thanks. Even though I’m feeling kind of blue at the moment.

John November 1, 2007 at 16:02

Great post Steve. I almost missed it but fortunately scanned back through today and it caught my eye. I was too busy letting time get away from me to see it the first time!

True, the increasing speed that time passes can make us wonder how it’s possible and even cause some concern that we’ve let too much slip through our fingers and will never catch up with our lifes dreams. However, as you eloquently point out, it should encourage us to become more aware of this phenomenon and never take our daily opportunities for granted.

I will use this as a reminder to live each day to the fullest and appreciate the little comforts of daily life and most importantly, don’t take myself so seriously.


Papa Ray November 6, 2007 at 22:34

Yea..I think you got it.

The other day, my Sweet Sarah and I were out shopping for a present for a birthday party she was going to and she saw the Christmas decorations on sale. She started talking about what she wanted Santa to bring her (she is 6 1/2 y/o) and she finally asked me with a big grin what I wanted for Christmas?

I looked at her sweet smiling face and I bent down, and whispered to her,

Time, Sarah, just more time!

Papa Ray
West Texas

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: