We have time or we don’t have time. We buy time or we lose time. But time cannot be owned. And so, how can it be lost?

Often, I fight time. It is scarce. Internally, I rail against its scarcity. Externally, I go faster. Dangerously fast. Internally, I feel helpless. I grit my teeth. Externally, I do not do one third of the things I have planned. Meanwhile, I do other things. Useless things. Internally, I feel bad about this.

Time is a limited container. Fill it with what you will. Put in the large rocks of your schedule first: work, doctor’s appointments, crises, sleep. Sleep is sandstone, softer than the others. You may break off a peice here and there to make it fit. Then, add the smaller and rounder stones of meals, visits with friends, concerts, errands, showers. It is tempting to shake the container at this point, to settle the contents and make room for a few more. Do not do this. Leave room for travel time. Now, add the sand of daily life. Fill the space with e-mail, television, chatting in the hall, reading a few pages on the train, buying a candy bar. Finally, pour in the water of thoughts, paces, breaths, and sighs. Is the container full? Does it hold everything you want?

Of course not. But time is not a limited container. The containers are constructs of our own creation. A day is a basket, woven out of numbers and social conventions. I have woven a basket, and now I am upset that it doesn’t hold everything I want it to hold. The limits, I feel, are imposed by the fabric of the universe. Time is scare and I am helpless to stretch it, to wind it back, to own more of it. But really, I have just mismatched the basket and what I want to carry.

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