Time is one of those precious commodities that constantly eludes us all. We equip ourselves with wrist watches to keep an eye on it but still it escapes us. We list our needs, our accomplishments and our hopes in the quest to make time for them and before we know it, time has gone. No wrist watch can hold back the sands of time.
We have engineers and scientists working around the clock to find ways of slowing it down, speeding it up and moving at will through it but all to no avail. We truly are at the mercy of time more than anything else on earth. They say that time changes everything but really it is us that makes things change - usually either through our mis-management of the stuff or the patience to simply let things go.
They say if you want something done, ask a busy person. From personal experience I have found this to be true. That is because I have never been so organised as when I am working full time. There are tasks that simply have to be completed within every twenty four hour period so the busier you are, the better at time management you become. If you have all day to complete a task, it will take all day.
They also say a watched kettle never boils. That is not literally so but it feels like time takes forever when you are waiting for something. Switch the kettle on and look at your wrist watch. Wait for what feels like an eternity, checking your wrist watch at regular intervals and this kettle will surely take forever.
Waiting is one time stealer that we can rarely do anything about and this is the time when we need to learn patience. Ever wanted to nip to the shop and found the 'back in 5 minutes' sign on the door. You can wait that five minutes but nobody will come. It will probably be more like twenty or thirty minutes. 'Back in five' is more a synonym for 'back soon'.
It works the same as someone promising to be out of the bathroom 'in a minute'. Trust me, when you're breaking your neck for a wee that is never one minute! And the best time distorters of all time? Children. Clean your room - in a minute. Come and get your tea - in a minute. Put the bins out - in a minute. Walk the dog - in a minute. Children seem to have no concept of time at all. Buy them a wrist watch and yeah, they'll be pleased, yeah, they'll look cool but will they keep time any better? Absolutely not. A child's minute comes from the same time school as 'back in five'.
William Penn wrote that 'time is what we want most but use worst'. Never a truer word spoken. We all yearn for more time, yet more time is wasted than anything else. Along with inventions for saving time, such as machines for washing, drying getting around etc, we also have time stealing inventions such as the TV and the Playstation. Many a happy hour has been wiled away on one of these things but we would do well to remember that not all wasted time is a bad thing. What is there to life if we cannot take the time to do nothing, but insist on filling every minute with activity?
When it comes to love, there are numerous references to time. When we are happily loved up, we simply cannot get enough of each other's time. The good times pass all too quickly and we try in a futile manner to hang on and savour every one of those precious moments. Mary Parrish wrote that 'Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be an eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock'. We do our best to absorb those stolen minutes of togetherness and stretch them out to an eternity but in reality it is but a moment.
Horological expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of a wrist watch in our efforts to control time.