TIME – friend or foe?

Hand of TimeWhere does time go – what an old refrain. There must be some repository in “that great somewhere” that is hoarding all the hours that have flown by in a flash or never have appeared in the first place. Have you ever gone to bed at night and thought, “I just got up and here I am back in bed again.”? Somehow, without any nudging from you, another day has disappeared – gone for all time and space. Then there are days when the clocks seem to be going in reverse, like when you are waiting for someone who is late. You glance at your watch every 30 seconds and it seems as if minutes have passed and you feel yourself getting more annoyed with each second. Why can’t time fly in moments like these … or when you are waiting for a letter, a phone call, a traffic jam to clear, or ___ (fill in the blank)? People have always said that time goes faster as you get older. Now, being an “older” person, I know what they mean. With this realization, I have begun to ask myself what I want to do, what I still want to learn, where I want to live, what kind of people I want to be around, what clutter can I eliminate from my life, what gives meaning to my life, etc. Living in Costa Rica has caused me to look more closely at the priorities in the US (my country of origin). Power, success (as measured by personal wealth or the appearance of it, at least), accumulation of possessions, excessiveness (country club size homes, SUVs built for off-road driving that never go beyond a shopping center, etc.), and wants that morph into needs seem to drive many people to a point where they don’t have time to cook in their designer kitchens or can’t find enough space for all the clothes and trinkets bought on impulse or by design. In Costa Rica, simple pleasures remain just that – pleasures to be appreciated and enjoyed. Every evening, the same neighbors gather at a long bench down the street from my house and talk and laugh. And laugh. They talk of the sunset, the weather and the rain as gifts given for their personal enjoyment. If you go for a drive in the mountains on the weekend, you will see families wading in creeks or sitting on blankets along the roadside or in fields relaxing together and enjoying themselves. When was the last time you went on a picnic and just relaxed, laughed, ate home-made food and maybe even napped under a canopy of trees? When time crawls, I remind myself to observe my surroundings and take something positive from the moments. Are there birds singing? Are children playing? Is the sun shining? When time flies, I ask myself if what I am doing is worth losing moments or should I be eliminating something in order to still “feel” these moments in time.


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