Time is a nonrenewable resource. It is finite.
Physicists say time is one of the most difficult properties in the universe to understand. It is our most precious commodity. Life isn’t necessarily short, but we often waste so much time that it seems short.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, a roman philosopher from the first century, wrote about the difference between living for a long time and existing for a long time, and the dilemma of longing for the future while having a weariness in the present. He also commented more directly on the lack of value people place on time.
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property, but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy,” Seneca said.
Seneca goes on to explain how nobody works out the value of time, and people use it lavishly as if it costs nothing. Seneca suggests that we should be more careful in preserving what will cease at an unknown point — time.
It can be uncomfortable to think about the brevity of life, but we must all face the reality that there is an expiration to our days, even though it feels like life will go on forever.
Many people allow themselves to be so busy that they do not have time to stop and think about life, which makes life seem like it goes by even faster. By having a realistic outlook of our time on earth, we allow ourselves the freedom to be present, appreciating each day and taking nothing for granted — living immediately in the moment, seizing every second, while also being mindful of the future without letting uncertainty cause us to fear. Most of life is uncertain, that is why it’s better to live in the present rather than the future.
In her book, “The Writing Life,” Annie Dillard explains the importance of how we spend each moment, and the need to take back control of our lives.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing,” Dillard said.
Dillard suggests it is in the little ordinary moments throughout the day that we find our real lives. Each day is significant, and there is no reason to wait for tomorrow to do something.
You are alive today, so make the most of it. Today has never happened before, and it will never happen again. You have a purpose and a reason to be alive, even if you don’t know what it is yet.
What are you waiting for? If there’s something you want to do, do it. Time keeps moving forward relentlessly, but it doesn’t have to be our enemy, rather, it can be motivation for us to live a life of purpose.
Life may be short, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good and meaningful.
We have all been given this gift of life, there is no reason to waste it.
Andrew Brand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @theandrewbrand