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What Time Is It?

What time is it? There have been many people who have come to my office and been confused about what time it was. The reason? I have a clock in my office that goes backwards, yes, it tells the time correctly but the hands (and the numbers) go anti-clockwise! One of the comments I sometimes make when people struggle with my clock is “haven’t you always wanted time to go backwards?” but the reality is that that is impossible! In our “time poor” generation when the perception is that time is going too fast and there is never enough time to get everything done, how do we cope?

Maybe the right question is not “what time is it?” but “what is time?” Western civilization is driven by the clock, which relentlessly ticks off 60 seconds every minute and 60 minutes every hour, but throwing away our watches does not stop time. In my reading this week I came across a quote from Saint Augustine (who didn’t even own a clock) who said:

“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”

Isn’t that the truth! A lot of time has passed since Augustine said that, we may be much better at measuring time, but we still struggle to define it and control it! The fact is time is the currency of life, we all have been given the same amount each day, the question is how are you choosing to spend it. M Scott Peck in The Road Less Traveled and Beyond,puts it like this:

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time.

Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

The fact is it is a lot easier to blame everything and everybody else for how time pressured we feel, when the reality is that we are usually the ones who make the ultimate decisions. Yes, we are all in a chain of command, and timelines are part of military life but as Mahatma Gandhi once said “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed”. Just working longer and harder, trying to get more done in less time is rarely the best answer! Yet here on RAAF Wagga we also see the opposite, with young people telling me they are bored and have nothing to do and find themselves continually “wasting time”. If you value yourself, you will recognise that both those extremes are unhealthy! Take some time out today to consider time and how you are using it. Maybe it is time to change your approach. Barack Obama suggests:

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

What time is it? Time to do something about your time management, instead of just complaining about having either not enough time or too much time!

Chaplain Ian S Whitley

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