Generally, we have two ways of assigning value to time.
If something is important, urgent or life-threatening we focus heavily on the existence of time and whether or not it’s “on our side.” Waiting for a surgeon to finish operating on a loved one. Waiting for the outcome of your dream-job interview. These are the moments where every tick of the clock is marked by the pain of knowing that we can’t stop time. We can’t go back to happier days. We can’t prevent the future from happening. This is when we value time the most.
On the other hand, if nothing unexpected, painful or exciting is going on in our lives, we assign little or no value to time. Think of a Sunday morning. Or a Saturday night. Or a Friday when all we’re thinking is TGIF. We’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that it’s fine to wake-up at 11 a.m. on a Sunday and then spend the rest of the day doing nothing – simply because we believe that time on a Sunday is worth nothing.
The privilege of being alive is ignored because we take it for granted that we’ll be here for many more years.
The reality is, we don’t ever “have” time. We don’t own. We can’t control it. And it’s never on our side.
As a starting point, we must constantly remind ourselves to be endlessly fascinated by the gifts that we’re privileged to have in our lives.
This post isn’t about productivity. It’s about paying attention. Paying attention to the fact that you and I won’t be here forever. And that must be our greatest motivation to live.