Saving time in a bottle…
… is of course impossible. But in general we seem to think we can save time, sort of like putting it in a bank for later use. In particular, we put off trying to realise our dreams.
“When I retire I will…” (paint masterpieces, write novels, walk around the Black Sea, learn to play the guitar) or “Once the kids are grown, I can …” (move to Italy, downsize to a smaller apartment & work less) or “On Monday next week I will make a new start and …” (shed 10 kilos, do yoga every morning, become better at lazing about)
So what happens if we never live to retire? Or the kids decide never to move out? (AAAGH! Now that would be really scary) But of course, we prefer not to dwell overmuch on our mortality, pretending that life extends as an infinite sea before us. Ha. It’s like the tired overworked lawyer once said, “People come in and tell me they want to draw up a will, to have it ready IF they should die. I tell them it’s never a question of IF, it’s only a question of WHEN.”
So: no saving time in a bottle, okay? Not that I recommend living every day as it was the last one (in my case that would lead to a severe over-consumption of chocolates), but I do believe it makes sense to now and then reflect on where we’re at in life versus where we want to be. In many cases, there’s damned little we can do about things. Most of us need to earn our living, most of us will never win the lottery or write that fabulous bestseller that will make us financially independent. Most of us don’t look like Jessica Biel or Joe Manganiello (most unfortunate, that. Imagine living surrounded by men like him… ), but as we share that particular bad hand of cards with like 98% of the world’s population, we don’t need to worry overmuch about that, do we?
The conclusion of all of the above is that the majority of us live relatively humdrum lives. We wake up, go to work, do the shop, cook, watch TV, go to bed, wake up, go to work… Not much to write home about, even if our lives do have their moments, don’t they? Actually, there’s something rather comforting about the regularity of our lives, and I’d guess many of us are quite content. Not ecstatic, perhaps not even happy, but content. OMG, HOW BORING IS THAT?????
This is where the dreams come in. Not the dreams that have us waking up in the middle of the night with a wildly beating heart, nor the dreams that have us living fairy tale lives complete with castles, Friesian horses, knights, quests and kings. (What? that isn’t your fairy tale dream? Tough.)
No, I’m referring to the desires and goals we once might have had for our lives that have slipped through our fingers as it were, drowning in the day to day. Like writing that book, or walking along the Silk Road (word of warning. That might not be an entirely uncomplicated endeavour, given the countries involved) or kayaking to Greenland (now who in their right mind would want to do something like that?) or winning a prize for the best rose garden in the country.
It is our dreams, our hopes and desires, that distinguish us from most of the other living creatures on this planet. We can plan ahead, we can think abstractly, and we can, should we put our minds to it, make quite a few of our dreams come true. But not if we keep on waiting for that propitious moment in time, not if we keep on putting it off until an undefined “later” date.
Many of our dreams are crushed. Quite a few of our dreams are impossible – I will never wake up on a Monday, miraculously 10 kilos lighter than when I went to bed (which doesn’t stop me from HOPING that might happen). But I believe all of us have at least one dream that we can achieve, one deeply held wish that we can make come true. Make it happen, people. Start today – just in case. After all, no matter that old song, there’s no saving time – in a bottle or otherwise.