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The Mechanics of Time

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

All my life I’ve been told that time flies and all my life I believed that the only truth to that was that it was an overused, empty statement; until now. Somehow, we’re face to face with September when, to me, it feels like April just began. The chill in the air is as distracting as the shifting sun and the early dimming of her day’s work. I’m truly not sure how we’ve found ourselves here and although I keep coming back to the idea of time flying, I don’t think this very accurately explains what is happening.

I would bet I’m not alone in thinking this - in thinking that time has moved fast but not because we simply glanced away during April, May, June, July and August. I think deep down we all know that there are bigger, more existential questions at the center of why time seems to be moving in this way, but it’s hard for us to understand the broader implications of our time and it’s varied moods.

Within the eye of this pandemic, I have watched time disappear. I have watched it morph into a putty that stretches and gathers and bunches without a care for the way it affects human assumptions or wooden furniture. It’s confusing to feel such a loss of control over something that we have truly never had a solid grip on.

I know that time is something we’ve adhered to since, well, the beginning of time. It’s the foundation for just about everything we have in the organized world. It’s easy to get caught up in time; to see yourself as carrying too much of it or too little, to stress about its absence or excess. But when we start to look at time from a bit of a distance, we realize that those feelings are because we feel like time is ours when, in fact, it’s not.

Time is not guaranteed nor is it stable. Time doesn’t make promises or grant wishes or care about how much work you put into something. It can be evil and sinister and deceitful. Instead, it’s about what you do in the time that you have currently, the time that you can hold in your hands and watch melt like ice cream dripping down your fingers in the summer heat.

With the looming presence of this virus, time has felt more elusive than ever. One day, the virus seems so far from you, and within hours it’s possible to feel completely suffocated by her. The incubation time being as long as it is, there’s very little that time can do to reassure you of your physical safety or your threat to the community. Time, time, time, time.

About now you’re probably asking, “well, Ruby, what the hell do you expect me to do with this?” and believe it or not, I’m going to tell you.

1. It is important to grab hold of whatever time you have in front of you now. Make it a tangible thing, let yourself lean into that space and do whatever the hell you want with it. The only limitations are the ones you set for yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, and those are the limitations that deny you the space to grow within the confines of time.

2. By virtue of putting time on the backburner, you create more agency for yourself and learn to better listen closely to your body and its needs. That is to say, you will no longer bind yourself to lunch at noon whether hungry or not but rather listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat when you feel them.

3. Again, focus not on the excess or absence of time, but on the presence of it. The presence of your being and the present that you live in. Change the way you think about life in order to uncover truths and establish yourself as a living being who exists not at the whim of time.

These are lofty ideas, I know, but if you think of them concretely and put them on the ground, you’ll see that they’re not only relevant but necessary elements of fulfillment. Simply gliding through time and allowing it to dictate our existence effectively denies one to feel or find any shred of fulfillment in this world. By virtue of taming time, we can more effectively follow our inclinations, passions, and uncover what truly feels right.

Cover Photo Property of Mathieu Wernert

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