An Absence of Time

How we perceive time is quite interesting. Eleven years ago today I was flying back to Canada after my first visit to Japan, yet it feels much longer. A little over three months ago I became a father, yet it does not feel as though 102 days have passed since that wonderful day. Five years ago the Great Tohoku Earthquake rattled much of the country, yet it feels just as distant in the past as 9/11. Where does the time go?

Narita Airport — Security Gate 2

The passage of time is something that has been on my mind for decades. It can be seen in a number of the projects I've busied myself with over the years. It can be seen in hundreds of blog posts across this site. It is even noticeable within the podcasts I've published. Just about everything is done with a concept of time built in right from the start as it's a consistent means of measurement. And now it seems that this resource, something that has always been scarce, has almost completely evaporated as new expectations and new priorities make themselves known.

How does one manage time when there are so many ways to use it? How does one choose where to invest their time when there are so many genuinely good places to put it? Saying "yes" to one thing does not necessary require a person to say "no" to another, but this seems to be exactly what's happened over the last few months as I make time for a new member in the family. My projects are still seeing time invested in them, albeit at a much smaller rate than before. My puppy, who just turned seven yesterday, is feeling a little lonely as I spend time with Leonard James1. I do spend a great deal of time with her, but not as much as before. She's still adjusting. We're all adjusting.

Time is one of the many resources that we simply cannot buy more of. Every person has the same amount allotted to them and it's a personal choice about how to use it. I want to spend my time with the people who mean a lot to me. I also want to spend time creating good things that others will enjoy using. The two cannot happen simultaneously, though, and this creates a little stress. How do others deal with this absence of time? Do they simply accept it and do as much as they can? Do they resent the fact they can't do everything?

In my case, I'm more than happy to spend time with my son. He looks a lot like I did at his age, and he's making discoveries all the time. Not a day goes by where he doesn't experience a first something, whether it's a shopping mall visit, an immunization needle, or an observation about his home surroundings. I'm happy to spend time with my puppy. She's been an amazing spirit to spend time with and I'd probably be a very different person had she and I not met almost seven years ago. I'm happy to spend time with my wife, who has become one of the most caring and compassionate mothers I've ever seen.

I do wish there was more time in the day, though. More time for me. I tend to put my needs last, and my need to create is just as strong today as it was a decade ago. But my needs must wait, as there's only so much time. Eventually there will be more but, until then, I need to be patient and make the most with what I have. Though my personal projects may not evolve as quickly as I'd like, the people around me certainly will. Being there to witness the changes is certainly worth the price of a few arbitrary deadline misses.

  1. this is not my son's real name, but it's the only name I'll use online … for now.