“Time is a thief,” the typical cliché to justify our days going by in a blur. But I think this is a lie. Time isn’t a thief. It doesn’t go any faster or slower. The seconds, minutes, hours, and days are set.
What isn’t set is us. What isn’t set is me. Or rather, what isn’t set is how we choose to spend our precious time. We have the ability to change how we spend our minutes within each hour, the hours within the day, the days within the week, and the weeks within the year.
The world screams that the busier we are, the more valuable we are. This mentality leaves us racing from one task to the next, creating blurry memories of days whizzing by. We may accomplish more in a day, but we lose the valuable memories that we zoomed by in our pursuit of being busy and productive.
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I remember my childhood summer days of playing tennis, reading on the blanket under the big tree in our front yard, having dinner with my family, and then riding my bike outside until the fireflies twinkled in the night sky. Those days felt deliriously long in the best way.
I think it’s because my days were filled with moments—moments I could pause and almost tangibly grasp. I was present and focused when I’d feel the strings of my tennis racket make contact with the ball. I would close my eyes and take a deep breath in as I smelled the summer air as I read. I was engaged without distraction during family dinners. I’d appreciate the evening breeze on my face as I biked around my driveway, as dusk set and the stars began to glimmer from heaven above.
Moments when I’d pause and just be. To be fully present to the point that the moment almost stood still, creating a crisp snapshot instead of a blurry image.
I can’t tell you the last time I paused in the moment and took it all in, distraction-free.
The pressure to do it all is heavy and has turned me into an expert multi-tasker. In fact, I’m writing this on my phone in between prepping coffee for tomorrow, straightening the house, and helping my husband with our toddler’s bath time. My phone dings with incoming text messages, breaking news articles, and social media notifications. The evening flies by in a blur, and when I finally collapse on the couch, I’m not entirely sure where my day went. Perhaps you’ve felt this way recently, too.
Multi-tasking is essential for surviving the days and getting it all done. Just to be repeated the next day, and the next, and the next.
But what about thriving in my days? I want more tangible moments. I’m not sure we were meant to live life in overdrive.
I often lament that I want more time. But I’ve been given 24 hours in a day, just like everyone else.
How am I spending them? Am I pausing in the moment, to appreciate the answered prayers that I’m living out? Am I taking time to slow down and embrace the moment I’m in, or am I so rushed and harried I don’t recognize the memories just passing me by?
Our society measures the value of our time by how much we can accomplish within the confines of a day, a week, or a year. The expectation is that the more we do in a day, the better we are . . . and in turn, that correlates to how we measure our self-worth. I’m tired of living up to unrealistic worldly standards that my worth is based upon how busy I am.
Time. It’s not a thief.
This misplaced focus on productivity and praise for being busy is the thief of my time.
And it’s time to steal it back.