How much does one of your minutes cost, please?
At what interval do you determine time to be valuable? A minute? An hour? A year?
Now I understand that this surely must be all relative, right? For example, a millisecond is very valuable to a sprinter. A second can be the difference between life and death in an accident. A minute is important if you are running for a flight, thirty minutes is a lifetime waiting for your child to be born, and an hour is a blessing when you have a tight deadline. So the value of time must be only important depending on your activity, right? Wrong!
Think about what interval in your daily life you would really start to miss. Really think about it.
After commuting over an hour each day, I’ve begun to wonder what I would be doing with that extra hour if I had it back… What did I do before when I had it? What would I do if I had it back? I can’t really pinpoint what I did, and that’s when I realized I don’t value an hour like I should, so it must not matter too much to me – an hour here or an hour there.
Surely I must be missing something if an hour isn’t important to me when someone dying would kill to buy just a few seconds of it for themselves. It’s all about perspective.
I realize that my commute is unavoidable, but all that simply meant was that I had to make the time I’m not commuting that much more special. You may have things that are unavoidable in your daily life that are time vacuums, so what are you doing to make the time outside of that vacuum special?
I don’t know at what point in our life our idea of valuable time changes…perhaps it’s constantly changing… For example, when you were two years old, one year is a big deal, it’s half your life. As we age, our years become proportionally smaller and smaller and we have no problem throwing around a year here and there as if they aren’t the series of valuable seconds that they are…we lose perspective of what a year should mean to us. As we age we also have less and less new experiences…we have already experienced the things that a child would find new and exciting and therefore we have this illusion that time has sped up, when really it was always there, at the same speed, we just chose to look at it without childlike perspective.
All you need to do is ask someone with an illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s how important time is to them. They would certainly have a different perspective on what amount of time is valuable… Surely they would beg for one hour a day of remembering…or one more minute without having this disease… Or one more second of clarity in their day, without fear or agitation.
Ask someone who has lost someone, or is losing someone, the value of a second. One second more to say goodbye or to hold them.
So now it’s your turn to have renewed perspective… Think of life as new and exciting and re-experience the first times of life. The first time you tasted chocolate or did something for someone because it made you feel good. Embrace those nostalgic times, and recreate them with new friends or family, each time with a childlike perspective of awe and newness. Think about what amount of time is valuable to you now, and redefine it telling yourself that every second counts. Spend an extra second in a kiss with someone you love, or an extra second letting sun really shine on your face; be present in that moment.
Spend a minute learning a new sign language, sign and work your way up to having a conversation with someone who can’t speak; think of the impact you would have on both of your lives. Spend an hour volunteering to visit someone elderly, even if they aren’t your relative.
Take an extra second to hold a door, plant a flower, wave at a neighbour, or just breathe deep.
Remember the value of a second and remember that if someone with dementia only remembered one second of your whole visit, then that was a valuable second for them…and for you.
Claim your seconds back…seconds are your most valuable commodity. You can only spend it, and you can’t get it back.