1440 minutes of potential every day

Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to’ ~ Lao Tzu

Going through my old Facebook posts yesterday, I came across this quote that I had posted 10 years ago. At the time, the younger version of me probably found the quote to be meaningful and hence shared it with my friend. My young mind was probably too simple at the time to really grasp the deeper and more profound concept that the seemingly straightforward quote had to offer.

Now 10 years later, the older version of myself who stumbled across my old post paused and contemplated it more deeply.

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Time is a concept initially created by man to observe events that happen in nature and the physical world – the changing of the shape of the moon in the sky, the changing seasons, coming of life and death. It became a useful way for us to organize our existence and coordinate activities with each other. Years, then months, then weeks, then days and eventually hours, minutes and seconds (and now nano seconds) were invented to more precisely measure time as we evolved and the pace of life became faster and more compressed.

We often refer to time as a resource -and it is indeed a resource. But it is more than just a resource. Unlike other resources such as money, it is an equalizing resource – everyone has the same amount in a day regardless of who you are, how wealthy you are or how powerful you are: 1,440 minutes every day. This concept we all know very well.

However, viewing time as a resource has also at times shaped our language and thinking in a limited way. I have often heard others lament (and I am at times guilty of the same) that they do not have (enough) time (probably throwing their hands up in resignation at the same time). As if time is something that can be topped up. It is not. And we all have time.

Time is a resource, an equalizing resource. Time is also potential and what becomes of that potential is an expression of personal agency: one’s choice and intentions.

Many people spend much of this finite resource on the hamster wheel – wake up, eat, work, eat some more, screen time zombification (i.e. vegging out in front of the TV or movie or phone or computer screen), sleep, REPEAT. Granted we all need to earn the moolah for our daily sustenance, but sometimes, we ought to step out of that hamster wheel and interrupt that numbing mindless cycle.

When I mention this, those I speak to will point to their annual or bi-annual holidays as their stepping off of that hamster wheel. Fair enough and in my humble opinion, it is not enough. I think we can choose to step off that hamster wheel every day and turn some of that 1440 minutes everyday into priceless moments. If one takes just 1 hour every day to do so, that would be 365 hours or 21,900 minutes. That is more than the 186 to 336 hours one gets taking a week or two of holidays in a year.

And there is so much that can be done in an hour of magic: spending time with your parents (when was the last time you had a mid day lunch with your parents?), spending time with your kids (when was the last time you surprised your kids with a trip to the ice cream parlour after school?), surprising your significant other with a date, spending time with an old friend whom you have only been keeping track of on Facebook.

The day is poignant with potential when we wake. Creating an hour of magic everyday is an easy miracle we can gift ourselves and those around us. All it takes is choice and intention to make it happen.

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