Hours Are Big, Minutes Are Small

My precocious 3-year-old, Lee, (22 years ago) wrote this little poem:

“Hours are big

Minutes are small

Seconds are hardly anything at all.”

Fish clock made by Scott Freeman, with poem by Lee Freeman, age 3

Fish clock made by Scott Freeman, with poem by Lee Freeman, age 3

I thought I’d share this with you today since the topic I wanted to address is this precious gift: time. Personally, my own relationship with time is shifting. I’m really very happy to report this because I, like so many in our society, have had a predominantly negative relationship with time, even though I’ve recognized it for years and hoped to change it.

We have a bit of an obsession with time, as evidenced by the many devices we have for planning & time management. On the other hand, we seem to abhor the passage of time, and claim the desire to slow or reverse ageing. Yet, when I really allow myself to imagine remaining 25 years old forever, that doesn’t appeal to me at all! Yes, it’s true that wrinkles are appearing and I’m no longer being mistaken for my child’s sibling, as was happening 10 or 15 years ago. But, more and more, I’m appreciating the benefits of age.

My kids at a baseball game- now that's a good use of time!

My kids at a baseball game- now that’s a good use of time!

So what’s changed? Maybe it’s that because I’m turning 50 in a few weeks, I’ve become more aware of my own mortality and how little time I may have left. After all, these last 50 years have gone pretty quickly! Or perhaps it’s because, as a 50th birthday gift to myself, I went back to school this year; there was a big emphasis in our course work on the topic of having a healthy relationship with time.

In any case, I am realizing that I want to shift both my awareness of time (being more present in the moment) and also how I habitually use my time. I’m spending way too much time doing things that really don’t contribute to my actual priorities. How did I reach this conclusion? I was encouraged to keep a log of how I spent my time for a week. It’s a good exercise to do once in a while. Yes, I could sew all of my own clothing. But how would that make me a better health coach, artist, wife, mother or friend? Preparing meals from scratch is great; but sometimes I want to spend time with my family and pick up something from a restaurant.

Perhaps the biggest realization for me is that I have a huge desire to have a bigger impact on the world. I’m only one person, yet I know that every person counts- I believe that about others, so I need to apply it to myself too, right? I’m trying to be more consistent about honestly evaluating my activities and seeing what, if anything, is unnecessarily sucking away my hours and years. Dali's famous melting clocks

There are a couple of bits of wisdom that I cling to with regard to time. I’ve repeated this to many people over the years, and also to myself. I don’t even remember if I came to this realization myself, or if someone else originally shared it with me. It’s this: God made days and weeks, seasons and years. Each is exactly the right length. If I find myself saying that there aren’t enough hours in a day/days in a week, it must be because I am trying to do something that I am not meant to do.

The second thing I heard somewhere a few years ago, and I’m sorry to say that I do not remember where. “We overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can do in 5 years.” I’ve found this to be absolutely true for myself. In a way, this really encourages me because I get frustrated when I don’t get done in a year what I thought I could accomplish. Yet, when I look back 5 years, I’m amazed at all that’s happened!

But why write about time on a health blog? I’ve noticed a BIG relationship between my perspective on time and my experience of stress. And we all know how stress affects our health!

What about you? What have you learned about time, this precious gift?



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