Do you recall the last time you lived life like there was no sense of time? For me I would have to say that it was in my 20’s. I suspect like a lot of males I was very slow to grow up. In my 20’s I was still living like I was in high school, the only difference being I lived on my own and the bills were in my name. I recall working for the weekend and when Friday night came there was “no sense of time.” The weekends were made up of every hour from Friday evening to Monday morning. I never worried about being anywhere at a specific time until Monday morning rolled around. Another time I recall living life like there was no sense of time was when I was 10 or 11. It just seemed like all we did every summer was swim, play, explore, laugh, and look for mischief (within reason).
Well, I am in my 40’s now and those days have long passed. As an adult I have taken lots vacations and traveled abroad. The weekends are still mine but I have lost the ability to live life like there was no sense of time. It seems that no matter the day or the location I am focused on time. Is it time to get up, is it time for dinner, how many more hours do we have before we have to leave? I suppose if I had never experienced the ability to be timeless then I would not know the difference. Why is time so important? Why do all make comments like “Life goes by so fast,” or “I swear the older I get the faster time flies by?” We all know intellectually that time is no more shorter or longer now than it was when the earth was created. There are still 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. Yet, when you lose the ability to live life like there was no sense of time the intellectual does not line up with the emotional.
Perhaps that is why the older you get the wiser you get. You start to look at life from a slightly sometimes radically different view. I love to sit and talk with people who are in the 70’s or older. I love to listen to their experiences and thoughts about life. It never fails, if I really listen, there is always a nugget of wisdom in what they are saying. I can even go as far as to say that when I am engaged with them, I start to lose that urge to look at my watch. There is something remarkable about sitting with someone who has lived a full life and is comfortable with their lack of control of time. I had the pleasure of sitting with an older gentleman who was in his late 70’s and suffering from Alzheimer’s. He was early onset and still a very high functioning man. However, in the course of our conversation he told me the same story of his time serving in the military roughly 6 times. The thing that struck me was that this man had only served 4 years in the Navy when he was 18-22 years old. Obviously, this time in his life was one of great memories. He explained in great detail how he had served as a cook at a base in France. As I walked away from that conversation I reflected on how I got lost in his story and not thought a thing about time. How was that able to happen? How could I lose track of time with this man when I cannot even sit on the beach without wondering what time it is. The answer came to me, if I want to live life like there was no sense of time I have to be present. I have to be in the moment.
I started to look for things that would allow me to be more in the moment because let’s face it, not all things we do are interesting enough to keep us in the moment. I came up with a list and I am on a quest to test my theory. Here are some my first areas of focus to try and recoup that feeling of living life with no sense of time (at least portions of it).
- Stop wearing a watch (it really isn’t a fashion accessory).
- Stop taking my cell phone with me on family outings. If I can leave my cell phone home perhaps I can break the habit of checking it every 5 minutes.
- Set aside an entire day and make no plans, just do whatever I feel like.
I am on a mission to be present which can be so elusive with all the ways we have to multitasks. Our jobs are demanding and there is an expectation that we are always available. For me this is not healthy and I need to take time to unplug. I need to strive to be present for my own sanity. I am convinced that if I take these moments to escape from the business of my life that when I plug back in I will serve those around me more completely. Will you try one of my ideas above or come up with a few of you own and let me know if you are indeed successful at living life with no sense of time, just for a moment.