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“I’ve been on a calendar, but I’ve never been on time.” —Marilyn Monroe.

Each of us has a relationship with time. We might bluster through our day, lurching from appointment to appointment, or we might move like molasses, unperturbed.

Society vows “faster” is better. I found a spray called a “sixty-second shower” —apparently, a few good squirts, and you’re good to go. A fast food ad proclaims “Served in nine minutes—or it’s free.”

Carl Honoré is an international journalist, always jetting off to exotic locales—and always battling the clock as he races to file the story. A pivotal moment inspired him to write In Praise of Slowness (Harper Collins, 2004). He was skimming a newspaper between connecting flights, when he spotted an ad for one-minute fairy tales. On the surface, it seemed heaven-sent for a harried father. Then it struck him: why would he want to fast-track that precious time with his two year old?

Consider the language we use around time; we often approach it as a statement of lack, not a statement of abundance. And we equate time to money, that other yardstick of value.
A boss yells, “Where are those reports? Time is money!”
A daughter rolls her eyes and bleats, “Mom, I just can’t spend all day on that!”
Someone else sighs, “My time is stretched so thin right now…”
There simply never seems enough hours in the day.

Except, there is. Consider this: Helen Keller had twenty-four hours in her day. So does Hilary Clinton. So did Mother Teresa.
I appreciate there will always be demands on our time.

What minutes or moments count most in your day?


  1. Jeanne Halpern says

    This piece is fascinating in itself but especially to me because my spouse and I decided long ago that a main difference between us was connected to time. Being exceedingly practical, I tend to $pend or u$e time, and what I lovingly learned from Louis was how to pass time — much more fun! Then I started this list of verbs that we all typically combine with “time” in an enormous range of contexts:
    call time
    find time
    have time
    keep time
    kill time
    lose time
    make time
    pass time
    save time
    spend time
    take time
    use time
    Don’t spend, take or use your valuable time on and answer, Alicia, but you’re welcome to add to the list! Jeanne

    • Alicia Young says

      Hello Jeanne, great list! You’re right, our use of language around “time” is so varied… each with its own connotations.
      I’ve tried to come up with some others, but your list pretty much covers all bases!
      And I second you on the joys on passing time!
      Thanks, and great to see you here,

    • Alicia Young says

      Francie – YES! Reading is such a pleasure. Being immersed in a book is such a lovely escape, and to any land we like… or anywhere we like.
      Speaking of, I’ve always loved the idea of reading in the bath, but never seem to get get ’round to it. Time to find a trashy magazine and run the water!

  2. says

    This was good to read. I am always running from one thing to the next. I think the only time I am doing nothing is when I lie down to prepare for sleep. I think those are the moments that count the most.

    • Alicia Young says

      Hey Kuukua, and thanks for the encouragement. I agree – I call it “lurching” – there are days I seem to lurch from thing to thing. Here’s to both of us remembering to pause…. and breathe. 🙂

  3. Holly says

    How right you are Alicia. We often complete everything at break-neck speed and cram so much into our day in order to feel a sense of achievement. Ticking things off the list, so to speak. I feel great when I when the alarm goes off and I can stay in bed for another 5 minutes & savour the peace and warmth before the hectic day starts; I like the unexpected smile from the passer-by because it’s a sunny day and everyone is happy. And I love my little boy’s giggle when his expression changes from tears to laughter because he has been distracted. These little snippets of time may not help solve the economic crisis, but make my day much more interesting. Great post Alicia. X

  4. says

    My mind is flying 1000 miles a minute, so when I intention slow myself down it is truly felt. I find yoga helps me stay present in the moment, as well as setting time in the morning to read a daily reflection. It can be hard to make every moment count, but there are simple ways we can achieve this (with Intention of course!)

    • Alicia Young says

      Great point, Elisse. Yoga is truly a tonic to slow down and be present (I never quite manage to “empty my mind” of all thoughts as the instructor urges, but slowing down feels like a good improvement!). And I agree on the daily reflection – I’ve started choosing one word before getting out of bed, as my go-to thought to infuse my day.

  5. Tander says

    As I heard someone say recently: “Everyone has 24 hours in a day, it is up to you how you chose to use them.” A penny dropped for me that day.

    • Alicia Young says

      Hi Tander, I had the same “aha” moment with Hilary Clinton (she says, as if she just had lunch with her…! I meant, I was reading an interview with her chief of staff.).
      Always great to see your name pop up, thanks.

  6. says

    As usual…very timely. I have found that slowing down the pace of my life, choosing what to do with my time rather than allowing demands to lead me has proven one of the most important decisions of my life. I am now better abe to take care of myself and those I love in ways I never dreamed possible before. Notice the order…myself and those I love…not the other way around. It has meant my health and general outlook on life is much improved. It has also meant those I love, family and friends, are also happier, healthier and so appreciative of my efforts. In no small measure this includes eating right, resting enough, exercising regularly and just really enjoying the special daily moments
    that might have gone by unnoticed. It feels like it was a life changing process because it has been…nothing short of transformational. Less than two short years ago, as I approached my 60th birthday, I was working around the clock and taking medication for high blood pressure and, worse, I was prediabetic.

    Happily, I no longer am either of the two and have returned to running (even entering organized races!!) swimming, hiking and walking in the sunshine. Now, instead of eating out or buying storebought foods, I shop for, cook and eat fresh, local produce…things I had given up on years ago.

    This was not a one day process, nor was it easy to figure out how to go about it at first. But, the decision came thanks to my need to feel better and to live longer so I could be around to enjoy my later years with my loved ones. These days, it seems the most natural thing in the world.

    I am ever grateful for the support I received from loved ones, especially my dear partner, my husband of 42 years, who is the best role model for healthy living I have ever had. Now life shines again and I face the future with a sense of hope and adventure!

    • Alicia Young says

      Hello Louisa, you made me sit up when you talk about choosing how to spend your time… it is a conscious choice and so much flows from that and the priorities we decide.
      Glad to hear you are putting yourself first now! Like so many women, you have spent years meeting everyone’s else’s needs before your own. You made terrific changes and now you’re reaping the rewards. I take my hat off to you!
      Alicia x

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