The Time Paradox

The Time Paradox

Okay, so maybe it isn't a paradox, but time is a tricky thing.  As kids, its seemed like time dragged on forever.  Summer vacation was an eon away and adulthood?  Forget it.  No kid had the patience to wait for adulthood.

But as adults, it seems we rarely have enough time to do the things that we need to do.  After working, cooking, eating, driving, caring for children, cleaning, and other basic daily tasks, there really isn't enough time for much else, especially if you want to get more than six hours of sleep that night.

Time isn't really different now that we're adults, but the list of responsibilities we carry certainly is.  Many of those responsibilities are necessary for survival.  Some of them, however, only pretend to be vital.  They slip into our daily routines so silently, so stealthily, that we don't even realize there was a time when they weren't there.

Since the spread of the coronavirus, many of us are suddenly finding ourselves with a huge amount of time on our hands.  Our forced isolation has an unintended (and indeed positive) side-effect.

Woman Taking Pictures with Smart Phone

Being forced to stay home has given us the chance to re-evaluate those responsibilities, to re-examine our priorities, and has given us the opportunity to make changes to our lives in ways that might not otherwise be possible.

Instead of pining over the fact that you can no longer do something, perhaps it's time to question why you did it in the first place.  Instead of complaining about not having enough time to do ... well, whatever, why not choose to do it now?

I want to challenge all of us during this time to take charge - take charge of our lives, our time, and our priorities.  Now, while sitting at home with family, friends, or even alone, we have a rare opportunity to explore the world around us in ways we didn't have time to do before.  Learn a new skill, read a new book, listen to a new song or perhaps try to write one of your own.  Explore interests you had in the past that got pushed aside by life or delve into new and unfamiliar territory by trying a new hobby.  Bird-watch, garden, cook, paint, try photography - the list of possibilities is endless.

Paint Palette

I know what you're thinking.  I can't paint, I don't have any supplies.  I can't garden because I don't have an actual garden.  Photography?  Don't you need specialized equipment for that?

Those reasons are really excuses, weapons that we use against ourselves.  Why?  To shield ourselves from imaginary consequences.  To protect ourselves from the dreaded failure.

So you don't have artist quality oil paints and canvases?  Try using your kids' paints or crayons or markers instead.  Don't have a garden or even a pot in which to plant something?  Use a plastic food container (from sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc - just be sure to clean it first).  And with modern phones, anyone can try their hand at photography.

No one has to see what you create.  No one has to know what new thing you're trying.  No one has to know if it doesn't work.

But you will know that you tried.  You will know that you pushed yourself to try something new.  You will know that you can do again.

Plant Sprouts

More importantly, you will learn that failure isn't bad.  It isn't an end, but is instead a step in the right direction, a necessary step towards success.  Forget what you learned in school - failure is good.  Failure teaches us to think critically, to assess and re-evaluate, to come up with a better plan for next time.

Perhaps this is a lesson that our country as a whole needs to learn.  We can and will fail, but it doesn't have to be the end.  Instead, it can be the beginning of something better.  Something stronger.

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