For thousands of years we measured its passage by the seasons, the phases of the moon. Then, the tolling of church bells and large tower clocks separated our days into smaller portions. For time itself has no divisions to mark its passing. There is never a thunderstorm to announce the beginning of a new month or year. As our science grew more sophisticated, so did our measure of time. Mechanical clocks have been replaced in large part by quartz, and now we have developed an atomic clock based on the rate of decay of a radioactive substance. What’s more amazing, all of us have access to the beating of this timepiece through the use of a radio wave controlled device small enough to wear on our wrists which constantly synchronizes with the nuclear timepiece in Ft. Collins, Colorado.


Both at work and at home, I’m surrounded by various time keeping devices on the wall, my computer screen, my wrist. The radio and television keep announcing the time. Not to mention my Palm Pilot with its calendar and ‘to-do’ lists, my office appointment sheet divided into 15-minute segments, the daily schedule on the wall of my lab – all collaborating to create time pressure, not just in my life, but also in the lives of nearly everyone I know.


We all have the same amount of time in any given hour, month or year. Time is the great democratic leveler. No matter what you do, you can’t save it, store it, give it away. Our perception of time may (and usually does) change depending on what we are doing and how old we are. Remember when several years passed between Christmas and the coming of your fourth birthday? And how long fifteen minutes lasted when taking an oral exam in graduate school?


We as creatures have evolved over untold years to the circadian rhythms of our bodies, the pull of the tides by the moon, the passing of fall leaves into winter snows. It is only in very recent years that we have made time into a tyrant in our lives. I don’t know which is sadder – our over scheduled kids, running from school to soccer practice, music lessons to scout meetings, or the harried parents juggling their schedules to accommodate those of their kids, and somehow losing something very vital in the transaction – the ability to relate to each other, to listen in quiet, to take time to reflect on what is happening in life rather than rushing through to the next event. I remember a scene at the Grand Canyon where a family pulled up next to us at a spectacular look-out point. The father jumped out, lined his wife and kids up against the rail for a couple of quick photos, than hurried everyone back into the van so they could reach the next point on their printed itinerary. When one of the boys protested that he wanted to stay longer, the father yelled at him, “Shut up, Billy. You can look at the pictures when we get back home.”


It’s hard to live in our society and not feel time pressured, especially if you live in a big city. The pace of country life is a bit slower, but even that is being corrupted by the incursion of mega-stores, the ubiquitous television, and the sprawling superhighways. For each of us, the Present is a point just passed. How much attention we pay determines the meaning of that forever irrecoverable moment. For the importance in life is not how many breaths we take, but how many moments take our breath away.

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24 Responses to Time

  1. Moon says:

    Goshhhhhhenjoyed your subtle perceptions about life, time and how to "use" those in our favor…you are so right, about how was over look the most beautiful precious moments of our life, and are instead occupied in chasing what ever kind of phantoms, that modernity is handing us (work, work, more work, more classes to take the kids too, more shopping, more TV…etc..)loved your last line, where you were saying" For the importance in life is not how many breaths we take, but how many moments take our breath away."I LOVE THAT FEELING IN ME….

  2. linda says:

    Thank you Jorge, I truly appreciate your kindness. I see softly_with writes to you… she is how I find your space. You are inspiration for me. I will read your thoughts infuture by for now Linda.

  3. Michelle says:

    This is very good.It is sad to see people who let the time pressures and their schedules really take away from the living and enjoyment of life. Of course we all have things we must do but it is sad in situations like the little boy wanting to enjoy the here and now and his Father ready to rush away. Sometimes you really need to just enjoy life and seize the moment and not get so into a rigid schedule.Abrazos,Michelle

  4. Tatheer says:

    thanx for ur words…but ur msg scared me more then anything…who needs counseling when u hav friends…n yes…i m going thru a bad time…m poor as i hav nothing left. its one of those things that fate has in for u…n u just face it. u just hav to…it leaves u no option…n now comes how m facing it…i write here to exorcise my inner me…just that…n no friend its not hereditry…i hav a grt family…very supportive.its just soemtimes u repay for wat u do…iut wat i m doing. its my payment time…to endure watever there is.ur words helped me…thanx. it did mean a lot. n not everyone is blessed like i m..see god sent me 2 ppl to talk it out with…m lighter….but itll take time…pray for me.thanx loads.-t

  5. Nathan says:

    Reminds me of the words of Ben Harper in his song "Walk Away". "They say that time will make all this go away. But it\’s time that has taken my tomorrow\’s and turned them into yesterdays."I think its too bad that life has been reduced to incremental spans. I don\’t think life was meant to be lived from one hour to the next. If it were supposed to be that way we\’d all have been given a set amount of life the way we are given set amounts of time to accomplish things. It\’s unfortunate that life is seen by so many as time spent instead of seeing it as a sea of moments and experiences.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Can relate to that. My daughter and her kids are caught up in the rat race..I have 8 today and she is sucking on popsicles and learning to do needlepoint. It is nice…

  7. Gelert says:

    It\’s the way that time passes at different speeds that gets me. Depending of course, oh what tune your heart is singing at the time.

  8. Gelert says:

    Hey there. Thanks for the comment. I also have this problem with some blog\’s music. Usually it\’s if they bought the tune from i-tunes or something, but the track on mine is from a cd I own, which I uploaded onto a file host, so I don\’t know why its doing that. Usually, if you just say no to the licence thing, you should be able to get to the site just skip the music. If anyone else is having the same prob, I\’ll just change the track.

  9. Jaime Campbell says:

    Have I told you how much I love your entries? My gosh, I love the way your brain works.So many parts of this made me FEEL. I have said for years that we all need to return to "Andy Griffith" days… sitting out on the front porch at night, playing the guitar. (I still want to know how the man could smoke ONE cigarette?! haha) Making time to whistle and walk to work or to get a haircut.I don\’t have kids yet, but that is one thing I hope swings back the other directly on the pendulum before we get there..this overscheduling thing. Rushing. Maybe we\’ll just opt out of it. It\’s just so crazy.The part about the Grand Canyon made me sad. Poor kid. He actually thought they were there to SEE the Grand Canyon…not just have a picture as evidence that they were there. Good grief.Awesome entry.Love to you.Jaime.

  10. Gayle says:

    Hi Jorge,Time seems to be one of the ways we create reality. It\’s 12:30 pm so it must be time for lunch; 2:30 pm time to meet with Mr. Smith; 4:30 pm pick up the girl child, etc. It\’s how we pretend that the world has an order to it that we create without having to be conscious of what we are creating. It\’s easier than really seeing the chaos of the moment and trusting that order is there as well, or holding an open space until the order can be perceived.I always appreciate your words.G.

  11. Aafrica says:

    "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough." — Tagore

  12. Renee says:

    What a wonderful entry …i couldn\’t agree more …this is how I try to live my life. Happy New Year!renee

  13. A Utah Woman Am I says:

    Hey Jorge!How are you? I do apologize for my delay in getting back to you and all the sweet comments that you left for me. I was indeed happy to hear that you had a great holiday season with family in friends. Mainly because, to me, that is the most important thing. We need to be able to bask in others warmth everytime the opportunity presents itself. This was a well thought out and perfect post Jorge. Time. It is something that we can never SEE, only FEEL. We feel ourselves getting older, we feel the day is passing. It is rather interesting how time, like you mentioned in your post, has been misused throughout history. We now sadly live in a world where we don\’t "live in the moment", rather, we are trying to do everything to do "everything" (mind you, there is very little enjoyment involved there). Excellent quote to end it with. I couldn\’t agree more.Be Well and Happy New Year!Kelsey

  14. Charlotte says:

    Time…. we only each have so much of us and none of us knows how much…. great post… thank you.. hugs, lottiemae

  15. Nellie O Apple says:

    Hello, JGreat topic and here is some of the lyrics of Paul McCartney that I love to hear–it\’s about Jenny Wren. J.W is a small songbird – long the center of poetry and lore. *Like so many girls, Jenny Wren could singBut a broken heart, took her song awayLike the other girls, Jenny Wren took wingShe could see the world, and its foolish waysHow we spend our days?Casting love asideLosing sight of life day by day She saw poverty, breaking up a homeWounded warriors, took her song awayBut the day will come, Jenny Wren will singWhen this broken world, mends its foolish waysThen we\’ll spend our daysCatching up on lifeAll because of you Jenny WrenYou saw who we are Jenny WrenThank You All.

  16. Unknown says:

    I believe that it is only when we are forced to truly look at how precious time is or I guess was, that we really don\’t think about how much we waste it. We are constantly looking at time, working around time, being rushed by time but we don\’t really value it. I guess when something is there, we don\’t really notice it, until it is gone.Cheers!Rosie

  17. Marlene says:

    ty for your comment Jorge , your space is very interrestingmarlene:)

  18. Ashley says:

    Hello Jorge, All your readers have said what I want to say about this entry. Well done ! I love it ! I wish you and your loved ones a very peaceful, healthy and happy new year 2006 (again about time, this eternal subject !) …Gros bisous de la France :-))

  19. Fructose says:

    I love the last sentence, I can feel that was so true.Re: I Wanna Know What Love Is.I got only one (1) boyfriend in the \’real\’ world up to now. That was 22 years ago. He was my only and first boyfriend in the real world. We broke up when he sent me a letter for reasons of studies but no third party involved. At the time, am too young and don\’t know how to handle relationship. I haven\’t experienced what really love is. I am a kind of person that would not say, \’I Love You\’ if it is really not coming from my heart, granting I don\’t know what really love is but definitely, I don\’t play that. If there is that forms of love, in your case, what are those? Would there be a good and bad forms of it? I am afraid of the bad form.

  20. the1stephzen says:

    You know one thing I like about living in solitude (well..that sounds more dramatic than it is) is the fact I get to flow with time more so than if I had to accomodate another person or a whole family. I agree that the world is not spinning as fast as some people seem to think it is.

  21. Marie says:

    Happy New Year, my dear friend.I am sorry I had not visited as often as I wanted to.I am still in the U.S., enjoying the Spring-like weather of San Diego but slowly getting homesick for Tokyo.Hugs, Marie

  22. Lakota Clay says:

    Profound and beautifully written, Jorge. Thank you. L.

  23. Patricia says:

    To live simply…some people know how to do that…some of us keep trying…

  24. Deirdre says:

    I know when I need to remember the important things in life, I can come here and feel a little more grounded.  Thank you.

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