Time is expansive. So much so that we chop it up into parts to more easily digest. Mostly, we base this on observable phenomenon – the cycles of the sun or the moon. Our current calendar system has been in place since 1582. Of course, without that calendar, how would we know that?
A calendar helps us keep time and we keep time in order to help us keep order in our own lives. The Byzantines put our current calendar year between 7521 and 7522. But there are dozens of calendar systems, reference points for the lives of the 7.062 Billion people on the planet. The French Revolutionary Calendar makes this year 223 of the ‘Era of Liberty’. But ‘liberty’ means many things to many people.
Time is elastic. A moment spent with a loved one can last the rest of our lives. Some hours can go by staring at a TV screen without one memory being made. Yet there is a tendency in our culture to make a fetish of time – to obsess over the time it take to accomplish things, to make time the most important aspect of an event. To operate like clockwork. To become machine-like.
Our perception of time is more important than time itself. Time, turns out, is a fiction we create to measure our lives. The ‘end of time’ would mean we have given up measuring, given up taking in the moments, given up the reference points that give us the common language we need to make plans, to meet up, to celebrate and restart.
The way we mark time is a tool, a common reference point that happens to coincide with the way our planet circles the sun, the way the planet rotates providing us with seasons and days. Yet when we find ourselves losing track of time, we tend to be enjoying ourselves more, to be consumed by activity, by fun. Time, it turns out, is a paradox. We must be intimately aware of time in order to forget about it.
In this year 2013, I hope to use time as a tool – to meet up with friends, to organize my life, to accomplish the things I want to get done. But not get bogged down by time, not to mark the days for their own sake. I plan to use time as a tool to enjoy each day. That is my resolution.