The importance of time

The importance of time

"Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."

By Maán Jalal

Published: Fri 13 Nov 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Nov 2015, 1:00 AM

ONCE UPON A time, prehistoric man looked up at the sky and observed day turn into night. Then there were sundials, water clocks and hourglasses. These days we don't mess around with stick in the ground. Time is right there on our phones, at the bottom of our computer screen, or if we can be bothered, time is blinking on our wrists. With such easy access to time, why does it always feel that there isn't enough of it? Ever.
I suppose we each have to look at our own personal relationship with time. As a boisterous young bookworm, I was always reminded that my actions had the potential to cause a great rip in the continuum of time and space. Don't waste time. Be on time. Time to go! For many of us, we were given the impression that to be late meant the possible destruction of the universe itself. The decorum of punctuality was somehow strictly connected with the substance of our character. Time was a serious thing and serious consequences were implemented if time wasn't given the respect it deserved. I found it all very boring. The pressure of time was too great for the teenage me, who just wanted to read his books and be left alone. So I rebelled.
Instead of studying, I didn't, and failed exams. When my siblings got ready for school I wasn't bothered to rush anywhere. I relaxed on the sofa and read my book. When I was called for dinner, I took my time and strolled into the dining room only when I'd finished the chapter I was reading. I had no regard for the school bell. It was tiresome to be told what to do and where to be by a loud shrill of metal every 45 minutes. My tardiness at school equated to a record of over 30 detentions that I refused to do. I wasn't going to be punished for not being on time, by wasting my time in detention, when I could be utilizing my time doing whatever I wanted. To cut a long story short (again to save you time) my teachers and parents weren't very pleased with me.
Then one day, I was watching an old classic movie with my parents (ten points if you can guess which movie it was. Hint: it was also a great novel) where in the opening shot, I came upon a written quote under a sundial.
"Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
The quote stumped me. I never thought of time as stuff, as a thing other than a word and way to enforce discipline. I really have no idea how the minds of teenagers work, especially my own teenager mind. That quote for whatever reason, persuaded me to give time a little more respect. I slowly started to understand that I should be on the side of time instead of resisting it. It would be nice to say that I was transformed overnight into the model student, but like everything, else good things take time.

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