Off the Clock

‘Time’ doesn’t actually exist. There is no such ‘thing’ as time.

It isn’t physical, having no substance.

It isn’t energy, having no force or power.

It’s simply a pure concept that humanity has invented to help understand our existence.

It’s unlikely that any other life form on this planet understands what we mean by ‘time’.

Yes, animals and plants recognize the daily and seasonal cycles that are a function of the planet’s rotation but none of them carry watches or live by the ‘clock’. They simply react naturally to day and night and summer and winter.

They grow old and die but without any idea of how ‘old’ they are.

But we humans, or at least most of us, seem to be obsessed with this ‘time’ idea.

Our lives have been divided up into centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.

We treat it like currency with talk about ‘spending’ our time doing different things.

But unlike currency, we have no idea how much ‘time’ we actually have in the first place and no way of getting any more.

“Once you’ve used up your time today it will never happen again”

But is that entirely true?

Are you and I missing a trick here?

You see, you and I have had ‘time’ imposed upon us, it wasn’t our idea to divide our lives up into these ‘time slots’.

It wasn’t our idea that we should only do certain things at certain ‘times’.

It wasn’t our idea that we could ignore night and day, summer and winter, and go to sleep and wake up according to the rhythm of the planet when instead we go to bed and get up in the ‘morning’ at the same ‘time’ (more or less) every day regardless of whether it was dark or light.

And it certainly wasn’t our idea that we should ‘go to work’ every day at the same time and stay there until a certain time later in the day.

And the strange thing is, for you and I, even if we are ‘our own boss’ and can work at any time we want, we still do it. (Mostly)

You and I set our ‘working hours’ as we want them but we still have to fit in with all those other people who are ruled by the clock.

You and I have to ‘fit in’ with the restaurants and hotels that only serve certain types of meals before or after a certain ‘time’ as dictated by the clock or on particular days of the week.

And then there are the other anomalies whereby the time in one country (or even part of a country) is different to that in another; and when the time of day changes according to the time of year.

The thing is – it’s all artificial – time is not real.

Of course it does have some uses, primarily for co-ordinating activities such as events or travel when people need to be together in one place.

But the majority of things that you and I do according to the clock don’t need to happen that way.

I can do what I am doing now, writing this, at any time of the day I want or any day of the week I want. As it happens I publish it on Wednesday, which as it happens is Thursday if you are in Australia or New Zealand.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter what ‘time’ you and I do things. What matters is that we do them.

It’s only when we want to do things together or with other people that time comes into play – so that we are in the same place at the same time.

And it doesn’t matter how ‘long’ or how much time it takes for you and I to do what we do. What matters is that it gets done.

Forget about the ‘deadlines’ and forget about ‘being on time’ – unless someone else is depending on you being at a certain place at a certain time or delivering something you’ve promised them by a certain time.

Certainly you and I should make good use of our lives, and if dividing life up into bite sized chunks helps than by all means use ‘time’ as a measure.

But that’s all it is a way of measuring what you and I do.

Let’s not ‘watch the clock’ or let time control what we do.

Until next ‘time’.