This has been a major question at our house for a long time now.
When Dave was in 8th or 9th grade, he got obsessed with the idea that time didn’t really exist and was just something somebody made up to try to organize the world. And him.
While this was, in my mind, an inconvenient perception on his part, I must admit he was in pretty good company. Aristotle. Einstein. Stephen Hawking. Not to mention a whole lot of Zen sorts of folks who are still reminding us to stay “in the moment.”
One of the ways this played out at our house, back in the day, had to do with being late for school. Or, more specifically, for the school bus. I have to admit, part of me suspected he was just exercising his adolescent duty to drive me nuts.
This went on for years.
Finally, by the time he was a senior, I figured it out. No more nagging. No more yelling. Just $5.00, cash, payable up front for the Mom-taxi to school.
The first time he thought I was kidding. The second, he raced up the steps, cash in hand, asking if we could leave now. Learning had occurred!
Bill and I have other issues about time.
The light came on for me at a workshop in Neuro-linguistic programming.
It wasn’t just us! People do time differently.
Simply put, there are primarily In-time people and primarily Through-time people.
Bill is an In-time kind of guy.
I am Through-time.
Here’s what this looks like on just about any weekend at our house:
Me: What time do you want to leave for lunch?
Bill: Well, I need to check on the world and work a while and bike.
Me: I hear you. What time do you want to leave?
Bill: Let’s aim for 12:30.
Me: Your time zone or mine?
Almost always, I’m ready to go at 12:30. (The dogs are a bit of a wild card.)
Bill is almost always in the shower by 12:30. And he usually doesn’t have more than three or four more things to squeeze in before we go out the door.
He really doesn’t think of things in terms of clock time. I do. Hunger is often a factor.
There’s no good/bad or right/wrong here. Just two very different perceptions of moving through the universe.
After 27 years of marriage, I’ve almost stopped thinking he’ll change. Instead, I’m changing me.
I try to be calmly clear ahead of time about occasions when I really need him to live in my time zone. Airplanes. Readings by Anne Lamott. Appointments with the vet.
As he usually drives, charging him $5.00 is somewhat less effective than it was with Dave!
The rest of the time, I take deep breaths and remember that different makes life more interesting and there might just be some bigger questions in the world right now.
Does anybody really know what time it is?
About this time last year we learned that there’s a guy from Vermont who does know, come hell or high water.
It’s time to try and make the world a better place.
Bernie’s still doing just that. And he’s still inspiring yyuge numbers of us to do the same thing.
Donating to food pantries. Calling members of Congress. Growing organic vegetables. Running for office. Marching. Persisting. Voting with our wallets. Tutoring kids.
You can’t do it all yourself. Neither can I.
Here’s what we can do.
Make one thing better. Every day. One thing.
Write a letter. Pick up a phone. Donate a bunch of stuff you don’t need to your favorite charity. Help make dinner for a shelter. Rescue a dog. Support Planned Parenthood. Encourage somebody else. Write a poem.
Whatever moves your heart. MOTB!
And, lest we encourage our inner perfectionists, maybe five or six days out of seven would be a better goal.
Think of what a difference that could make!