We all understand that our lives are directed by time. Time is limited. It has a beginning and an end. It cannot be stored or slowed down; it waits for no one. It has a rhythm and speed all of its own.
In no manner is it linked to our needs or desires; and no matter how hard we try to keep up, we always come up short. There is simply not enough time. Not in an hour, a day, a month, a year, or a lifetime. Yet, we continue to live with ever-increasing speed, hoping perhaps, that we would catch-up.
Over the past few weeks I attended a few events that allowed me to reconnect with people I had not seen in recent times. Some of the events were happy occasions, others quite sad
During our conversations, I noticed just how frequently we mentioned that, “we do not enough time” to do what should be important to us, and how often it takes a personal catastrophe or catharsis to have us mend our hurried ways. By then, of course, we have already paid a significant price and are full of regrets for not having done so earlier.
Sadly, often what we have lost will be gone forever, and we will not be able “fix” anything. So, whatever changes we make are for the future.
I was struck by how much faith we put into the “great unknown”, that which we call the “future”.
I recall how many times Dad discussed some of the things he would do once he retired and would have time for them. Sadly, he became ill shortly after retiring and could do none of what he planned. He ran out of time.
Friends who experienced perhaps the greatest of all losses – that of a very young child – were expected back at work after a mere two weeks of “compassion” leave. Still deep in mourning, they chose to have more time and resigned.
Another friend saw it fit to immigrate to a far off land to start afresh with his young family.
Trapped by the expectations of those he once called partners and colleagues, he no longer finds comfort in his own little “empire”. “Stick around, I’ll make you rich”, has lost all its allure against real prospects of true personal happiness. Time is not always money.
How much time we have to do something depends on our perceptions of just how important that something is. Naturally, we assign more time to things we consider more important. As we allocate our limited time, we are often faced with hard choices: the kids’ dinner, or the client’s deadline? We can’t have it all.
We work harder and longer hours in the hope that one day we’ll have enough time and money for: our children, family and friends, travel, holidays, rest, hobbies, fun and most of all happiness.
Yet, as we keep postponing the important stuff, time keeps moving on bring us ever closer to the end. The more we use now, the less we have for that day when we want to start to enjoy ourselves.
I am somewhat confused by the notion that happiness should be postponed. Given that we do not know exactly how much time we have, and that we are all concerned that we would not have enough time to do what is important to us, I see no sense in postponing anything, least of all the important stuff.
If my endeavours with my friends taught me anything, it is that it does not take a whole lot to spread a little joy. A long Sunday lunch blowing bubbles; a little popping candy, hidden in a crumble; a simple sphere made from pure beetroot juice.
I also discovered there is magic in methylcellulose that cause your “noodles” to set when squeezed into hot broth, and let them “melt” when the soup gets cold. There is joy and happiness everywhere. All you have to do is set aside some time. Not a lot, a little is sufficient, but you have to do it.
I like simple, rustic cakes that take very little time and effort to make. So, when I woke up this morning with a desire for cake, I baked this one. It is a simple sponge flavoured with fresh pear, sultanas and pine nuts.
Given that I had some time to spare, I made a fresh batch of marula ice cream to complement my cake and to help a young boy with his school project.
I’ll bet good money that his face will light up with joy as he watches the ice cream churn, and I’ll feed him (and his mother) some cake and ice cream which will make him smile even more.
Later tonight another friend from afar will visit and I’ll serve him some of the cake and ice cream too, and he will smile. I just know it.
As I write this, I am smiling because I can’t wait to see the joy on their faces. For this is why I cook: to bring and spread a little joy.
Poor is the man or women who does not have time to bring and spread joy. For all this took was two hours of my time.