The word time derives from an Old German word tima referring to the tides – its intent was not meant to create a system of measurement or structure by which to live, but rather was originally meant to capture the ebbs and flows of life. And yet, as we’ve evolved, humans have created a system under which we measure our successes and milestones, creating a sense of time anxiety. This “fear of time running out,” as Albom puts it, is not just a mortal reckoning or fear of death, but fear of a wasted life. The pressures we put ourselves under to make each moment one of progress has certainly propelled humankind forward, but what has it done for our collective happiness? Look at the world around you, and try to understand different concepts of time. How different would your life look if you moved not based on a clock, but by your instincts? Would your productivity differ? Would your happiness? What does it feel like to conceptualize time in terms of ebbs and flows of the tides, rather than marking the passage of your life?
Brianna Curran, Washington, DC