Monday, April 23, 2012



Time is the most precious gift any individual can give.

We don't know how much of it we have on this earth. The greatest punishments we can levy are taking a person's time away, or ending their time all together. (Or, worse yet, filling their time with horrors.)

I was speaking with a friend about their life and the issue of time came up. I helped them articulate why their sudden distance from another hurt so much. It wasn't jealousy or insecurity; it was time. Though it was unintentional, the other had pulled away, depriving my friend of their time together, which is what my friend missed the most.

Often I don't want to think about time. If you look at your life, you can see what is most important to you when you gage how much time you spend on it.

Everyone has to work to make a living, but I intentionally try to not work as much as I could. There are those in my industry who get three hours of sleep each night during the busy season, camp out in their cars, take on sixteen hour days regularly. I don't do that.

I hate it when my job takes away my time. This is especially so because regularly my work occurs when I would otherwise see my family and friends. I have but so many precious minutes on this earth; I strive to work to live, not make my work my life.

I hate it when I unintentionally deprive one friend of their time because I gave it to another. Thankfully it does not happen often, but it is a hurtful slap in the face both to my deprived friend and to myself when it occurs.

Ever since college, I've scheduled time with friends. Since high school, I've had a job on the weekends, thereby ingraining in me a need to set a time & date and stick to it. And though this can be helpful, it can also be complicated and/or disappointing.

What happens when you can't see someone for a month? More than a month? What happens when someone, through no fault of their own, cancels? I can't just reschedule for the next day or the next weekend. And it is very hard to pass up a pop-up gig making a lot of money for very little work.

We all make choices. Who do you choose to see the most, talk with the most? Who do you make the time for? Cut out a moment for? Always find a way to see or call or email or text? Spy their Facebook status? Troll their Twitter feed? The people who matter the most to you are the people you make the time for, even if they're not in the room.

But, and this is the bigger question, who are the people who get the least of your time? 

(Bigger still: Why?)

1 comment:

  1. Time is neither fair nor about fairness. No one gets equal time and they never will. As a teacher, as a father, as a friend, I offer time to the student, child, companion whom I judge needs it most—and sometimes it’s a tremendous relief when they don’t take me up on the offer. It frustrates me when people play the time card as a weapon, complaining that one person doesn’t really care because another is spending more time with someone else. Just tell me, please, precisely how much time you need to forestall the passive aggression and guilt: a one minute text each morning? a half-hour call each week? three hours out once a month? The pervasive metaphor equating time with a “gift” seems rather dangerous to me today. Time is not freely given. Precious and scarce, it is allocated after a shifting, teeth-gritting calculus of obligations, commitments, and desire.
    What can be freely given is understanding when someone who loves you simply doesn’t have time for you.
    You should know that, without asking you, I offered the time you and I had together this past week to a mutual friend who desperately needed our time more than we did. He turned us down.


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