As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I retired recently after being continuously employed for something like 42 years. I recognize now that while I was actively working, I really didn’t expend much effort in considering the passage of time.
During those years, management of the here and now aspects of time was a much more immediate concern. Time was a tool which I carried on my left wrist. It reminded me that I needed to get to work every day by a certain time. That I needed to arrive on time for meetings, to find time for lunch each day, to ensure that results were delivered prior to deadlines.
You know the drill; like sands through an hour glass time marches on and there’s no rest for the weary.
There were only a few periods during my career when I felt like those 42 years would never end. I guess I just didn’t have time for such contemplative, non-value adding musings.
Now that I’m retired, all of those working years seem to have gone by in a flash. Clearly the perception of time is based on where one is standing as they are considering its passing.
Looking back at my working years, time was very rigid taskmaster populated with a maze of ever expanding benchmarks, most of which were very securely set and which demanded strict adherence.
Now that I’m retired, time has become very fluid, extremely malleable, and only occasionally demanding – and then in a most friendly and wonderfully passive manner. These days I no longer think of time as being carved in stone. It’s more like having an amiable Pillsbury Dough Boy who looks after my schedule.
I still have things that I plan to do each day, but I hesitate referring to those events as being “on my calendar“. That implies far too much structure in how I manage my days.
If I want to go to the gym later in the day rather than first thing in the morning, so be it. I can just as readily sweat at 11:00 am as I can at 7:30 am. The stamps on those envelopes that I need to mail won’t expire if I wait until tomorrow to go by the Post Office. And since the local grocery store no longer gives the Senior Citizen discount on Wednesdays (how dare they), I can just as easily restock the pantry on any day of the week!
I’m slowly recognizing that I’ve become a resident in an alternate universe where I control time, rather than it controlling me. And it’s really quite a nice place to be.
I haven’t broken contact completely with that other universe in which I used to reside, but I find that I’m merely an observer of it, rather than an active participant.
As I drive around town, particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours, I realize that I’m awash in a sea of folks dressed in the now standard business casual attire and tightly gripping their steering wheels as they frantically search for any opportunity to gain just one spot ahead of where they find themselves in the endless lines of traffic. No doubt their minds are swamped with the plethora of reports, meetings, and tasks that are dictating their schedule for the rest of today, tomorrow, and next week.
I suppose that once in a great while one of the residents of that other universe may glance over at me and momentarily wonder, “Why does that old codger look so relaxed and content?” Apparently, they can’t see the Pillsbury Dough Boy sitting in the passenger seat whimsically wondering what we’re going to do with the rest of the day.
Photos by Rawpixel and Evgeny Tchebotarev on Unsplash