All the Time in the World
Transforming Anxiety into Artistry
Ask American adults if they’re anxious about time and they’ll likely say yes. Our society even deems it expected, acceptable and normal to experience such stress, but is it necessary? It’s helpful to explore what is at the root of our problems with time and why we believe we benefit from worrying and complaining about it. Both are good first steps to releasing ourselves from the drama of getting caught up in and blaming time as a convenient catchall. Which of the following rationales apply to us personally?
“If I can complain about being busy, I don’t have to examine other areas in my life.”
“My schedule is wrapped up with my self-esteem; being ‘too busy’ means that I’m successful.”
“Worrying about time gives me something to talk about.”
“I don’t plan things I might enjoy because it can be too demanding or even scary—it just feels easier and safer to be bored.”
“Worrying about time is a convenient excuse for not following my dreams.”
Once we identify the perceived payoffs from worrying about time, we can see them for what they are: illusions that keep us from living our true potential. Awareness allows us to make a different choice and to partner with time, instead of working against it.
Einstein proved that time is subjective, illustrated every time we compare an hour in a dentist’s chair to an hour in the company of a loved one. Time behaves and feels differently based on many variables, like emotion, engagement, flow, desire, interest, pain and pleasure. Our perspective counts. With capricious factors dancing around in our every moment, we can see why time isn’t constant.
Happily, we can use the relative nature of time to our advantage and choose what our relationship with it will be. Consider that with each instance we choose how we talk about, measure and experience time, we are actually creating a new paradigm of time for ourselves.
We can relinquish general views and limitations of time that hinder us and emerge into the possibilities of time as anything but a defined line. It can be a vibrant, completely moldable, layered, multifaceted work of art that we may adapt as we wish, to custom design each and every day.
Marney K. Makridakis of Dallas, TX, is the author of Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life. She founded Artella magazine, the ARTbundance philosophy and the ArtellaLand.com community.