virgin islands scene

Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.
-- Daniel Barenboim


Monday, January 1, 1996

Happy New Year

Today is the day when we pay tribute to the passage of time. Our planet has made one more trip around the solar system, and we call that a year.

Our perception of time is useful, because it helps us live our lives. Thousands of years ago, with technology that would be considered quite crude by today’s standards, people were able to accurately measure and anticipate the various seasons of the year. The concept of time has been important for a long, er, time.

Like any useful tool, however, time can be abused and misused. Excuses like “I’m too old to do that” or “I’ll have plenty of time for that later” are a misuse of the concept of time. The first one assumes that there is never enough time. The second one assumes that there is always enough time. They are both wrong. Time is what you make of it. It does not make you or define you or rescue you from mediocrity. Whether you say “there’s never enough time” or “there’s always more time” what you are really saying is that you’re not willing to make the effort to use time wisely.

Consider for a moment the possibility that time does not exist. That it is just a convenient concept, a theory, that has no basis in reality. What if everything you were, everything you are, and everything you are going to be, existed all at once? When you think about it, have you ever really experienced the past or the future? Sure, you have memories of the past, but have you ever been there? You have hopes and fears and anticipation for the future, but have you ever been there? The fact is, the only place you exist is now. What if there were no future and no past? What if you had to be everything you could be right now? How would that change you?

Time is a tool that humans have invented to help make sense of the universe. It is an extremely useful tool that helps us plan and organize and understand our lives. But time is separate from our existance, just as the hammer is separate from the carpenter. Though the hammer is one of the carpenter’s most useful tools, though it helps him to fashion his world and accomplish great things, the hammer does not define the carpenter. Does the carpenter stop doing his work just because he has used his hammer for too long? No, of course not. Does the carpenter neglect to do his work because he has a new, shiny hammer that will “always be there"? No.

We must learn to use time for what it is without letting it hold us back. You don’t have a lack of time. You don’t have plenty of time. You have only the use of time. It’s up to you to use it wisely.

Ralph Marston

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.