One of my favorite personal belongings measures it. From the moment my eyes open, I’m consumed by it. You don’t have 5 minutes to snooze. 20 minutes in the shower, 20 for make-up, 20 for hair, 20 to pick out an outfit and get dressed. If I’m quick, maybe I can even pack my lunch today. It continues in the car, as I speak to other cars. Please quit driving so slow. Then I talk to myself. By 7:40, you should be on Germantown Parkway. If not, then you’ll be late. And it doesn’t get better once I get to work. Between waiting on the elevators, emails, meetings, daily activities, putting out fires, time (or the pressure of the lack thereof) is always driving me. I guess you could say I’m obsessed with time, as most people are. When I was younger, it couldn’t go fast enough. I can’t wait until I’m in my 20’s so I can live somewhere else, have freedom, go to college, have a career, get married, start a family. I wish time would go faster. My obsession with time grew even worse in graduate school, where I literally penciled out my entire day. I guess that should embarrass me. Even though I was extremely efficient, I do not remember feeling at peace very much.
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the cover of Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper is part of what drew me to it. [In case your browser doesn’t allow you to see pictures, the cover features a simple drawing of various pocket watches.] I’ve always been a fan of watches. My dad went to trade school where he learned to repair watches and clocks, so watching him repair them was very common. It always struck me how much patience it took to disassemble a watch and put it back together. I remember studying about the moon being used as a calendar as well as how the ancient world measured time. But I never really thought about how life changed when the use of these tools were implemented.
The Time Keeper is a fictional novel about Dor, the man who first measured time and became obsessed with altering it . Dor is punished for his time-keeping invention by being exiled to a cave for centuries. He suffers from being torn apart from his family and living in solitude for ages. A few of my favorite lines in this book explain the reason for his punishment: “As mankind grew obsessed with its hours, the sorrow of lost time became a permanent hole in the human heart. People fretted over missed changes, over inefficient days; they worried constantly about how long they would they would live, because counting life’s moments had led, inevitably, in counting them down.” Dor’s story is intertwined with the story of two other individuals – a teenager girl facing unrequited love and a millionaire suffering from terminal cancer. The former wishes for time to end, the latter wishes for more. As Dor is allowed to return to the modern world, he must help these two individuals learn how to value time. The story is magical, nostalgic, mind-opening. Beautiful.
I’m now in my (late) 20’s. I live somewhere else. I have freedom. I’ve graduated from college. I have begun a career with a company I love. I’ve married my better half. And I wish time would slow down. I challenge myself daily to value time, to stop wishing for 5 o’clock, to SLOW DOWN and enjoy life. But it’s not easy. Every month, I feel both gratitude (for the precious time I’m given) and slight sadness (at how fast time flies) when I tear off a page on my monthly calendar. We live in a culture obsessed with time and efficiency. If technology is making our activities more efficient, then what are spending our time on? Shouldn’t we be spending more time being still, praying, making more memories with our loved ones, taking care of ourselves, helping others, enjoying life? Yet, we find ourselves with more distractions that “take” this time. Note to self: Activities and people don’t take your time. You give it to them. You share it with them. And you won’t always have it. Be wise about it. “There is a reason God limits our days… To make each one precious.”
Total number of pages: 224, FoA pages: 14,250 (The total number of pages reported upon by the Friends of Atticus)