Time is a tricky thing.
I remember like it was yesterday sitting on the floor with my newborn son, a famously bad sleeper, at a few minutes past four on a Saturday morning. It was pitch black out, I’d only slept a few hours, and we were up for the day. He sat in front of me, smiling and up for the day, diligently working on picking things up and trying to place them in a plastic shape-sorter that played a bunch of different tunes.
Day after day, week after week, my day would start at this hour—long before the neighbors, my friends who didn’t have kids, even the Marines. Being awake for hours before the sun came up each Saturday (and Sunday, and Monday) felt endless, as did that phase of life.
These days, things are a bit different.
My son, when he comes over to give me a hug, lifts his chin up a bit—he’s not yet a full head taller than me, but I expect he will be soon. We talk about his ceramics and logarithms, what e means, and about politics.
Just like that, in the proverbial blink of an eye.
Time is neutral, just doing its job day after day. Yet, despite its consistency, we fail to understand it. We get fooled into thinking we have forever, that tomorrow is just as good as today, for…
…starting that new project
…keeping a commitment
…telling someone we love them
…lending a hand
…letting go of a bad habit
…or starting a good one.
We have all the time in the world, until we don’t.
And waiting until a better time to start often means never starting at all.
We let ourselves believe that whatever is happening today will last for forever, and that we’ll never get free of the hard thing we are facing.
Just as easily, we can believe that we have “all the time in the world” when someday it will run out.
We reliably accomplish less than we think will each day and week, but much more than seems possible over the course of a year.
Assuming, that is, that we start today.