Tick, tock

As I write this, it’s the first day of summer. The warm weather has been dragging its heels to arrive here. This is the first week I’ve actually worn a light coat, and only the second day I’ve worn sandals. I look at the calendar and think someone’s playing tricks.


I mention this, not just because complaining about the weather is a favourite occupation in the Pacific Northwest, but to illustrate how slippery is that beast called time. Although we have devices to measure microseconds, time remains perceptual. There’s always either more or less of it than we think. We try to kill it. It slips away. It’s always hang heavy on our hands until … well, it runs out, doesn’t it? Then one wonders where it went, and whether it was wasted.

The effect is magnified by creative endeavours. I am great at promising things that will occur in a misty future only to find the deadline is breathing down my neck. Due dates have a way of making the future accordion into a frightening present. When I am in the zone and doing great work, time zooms by unnoticed. I’ve come out of a white heat of writing only to notice that I’ve lost a whole day.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by timepieces. Apparently, they’re magical machinery quite beyond my control. And, they’re thematically appropriate to the turning of the year, when I tend to get a bit philosophical anyway.

In my constant battle to tame the fleeting hours, I have learned this much: If there is something I want to accomplish, waiting for circumstances to be right doesn’t work. I hesitate, time flies, and I’m no further ahead. Even if I never reach my goal, moving toward it puts me on a better path. It’s like the universe waits to see if I’ll commit before coming on board. That’s when happy “timing” might occur—after I’ve done 95% of the work.

Think of it this way: It’s the first day of summer and the start of a new season. The wheel is turning, but toward what? Where do you want to be on the first day of winter? Even if you know you can’t be there, can you be closer? What do you need to do to make it happen? What are you willing to put on the line?

If you want to do something, don’t wait. The sands of time are running through the glass. Be brilliant, brave and take no prisoners.

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