Normally I wouldn’t open a blog post with such a lengthy quote, but this combination of words had such an earth-shattering effect on me the moment I first read them and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share them with you.
“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.” – The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom.
It was the last day of summer last year in New York, subsequently my last day in the city after spending a month travelling, alone, with the sole purpose to wander aimlessly and see what came my way. My last day in the city brought about these surreal and foreign feelings of guilt and regret. I couldn’t help but think I could have done more, seen more, absorbed more in the time I had left there, or better yet, if only I had more time.
That morning, I had finally picked up the book my father handed to me as a parting gift just before I boarded the plane from Australia, The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. Riding the subway to run some errands in mid-town I was completely paralyzed by the first page, which included the words by Albom, above.
Deciding to detour from my route, I got off a couple of stops early, found my favorite waiter at my favorite cafe and perched myself in the sun with my new book. A green juice, kale salad and two lemongrass teas later I had read well beyond the half-way point, looking up to habitually check the time. I had a plane to catch after all, but it made me think. I decided to stay longer, relax, read more — indulge in the time I had left in the city.
More than a year later, no book has struck such a deep chord and rocked me to my core. The central character of the book is Dor, who starts out as a young boy obsessed with counting, which leads him to be the first human to develop a system of counting and measuring time. He lived in the ages where we lived simply by the sun and loved by the moon. A concept so many of us desire.
Life has its ups and downs, some moments are fleeting, some seem to last forever. The message here is that life is literally what you make of every minute. Next time you are sitting in traffic, standing in a line for a concert or even waiting for your meal, stop glancing at your watch or checking your phone for a message, and just take it all in, in that very moment, because when you are measuring life, you are not living it.
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