The Art of Time

A human life “expectancy” in the modern Western world is something like 2.5 giga-seconds. This might seem like a lot, but those seconds soon run out. Until we hit the 1 giga-second mark we rarely pay much heed to our own mortality. After that it starts to get more apparent, stuff starts to stop working quite so well. Our sojourn here is limited and most of us do not use it as well as we might. I could say that we waste time, spend it unwisely and in a profligate manner. For some there is an urge to cram as much stuff as is possible into that time window, we may not be discerning about the quality rather gimme some quantity. Whether we like to admit it or not we are all making decisions about how we use our time all of the time. We can be hasty and impatient, we can procrastinate and dither. We could watch endless news coverage on Brexit and thereby reduce our will to live. How we use our time is, to an extent, up to us. If you want to get a little more focus then I can recommend getting cancer, in this respect. It teaches that there is only so much sand in the hourglass.

But what I want to address here is the idea of “give it time”. I can use two real-world examples.

If you do a degree in say physics or chemistry, you might get first class honours, which could encourage you to believe that you are smart and have it sussed. Then maybe you start a Ph.D. Pretty soon you are brought face to face with the fact, that theory and application differ. You ain’t quite so smart as you have professed to all and sundry. After about three years of toil, frustration and some success, you start to appreciate that text-book knowledge and real-world application are not one and the same thing. Maybe for about a day or so, after three years or more of effort, you are the world expert in the subject of your thesis. You have to “give it time” in order to learn your craft. Even after that, in the world of science, you are still a bit of a novice, though your ego might say otherwise.

Say you start a martial art like karate, ninjutsu or aikido. Your motives will vary according to temperament. Maybe you covet that black-belt status so that you can deem yourself hard. Pretty soon you start to realise that it takes constant effort. In your martial arts journey, you won’t just learn how to throw a shuriken, but a whole bunch of other stuff about yourself as well. Until you have done about three years you will not really have scratched the surface. After about three years, you have something of an inkling.

In each of these examples by “giving it time” you have what I call a learning journey. If you throw your toys out of the cot, the moment the going gets tough, then you do not learn anything new. If you stick with it then maybe you get out of the cot, onto the nursery floor and thence to a wider world.

The Art of Time is knowing when to “give it time” and when not to. Which of course leads back to paths and journeys

Having cued this up there is one question:

To what am I currently giving my time?