Time marches on despite human worry

By Helena Rodriguez

Time is a precious commodity these days. I don’t have much to spare. But as I’ve found, time can be a losing battle when you try to count every minute. Just live it.

I recently caught myself saying those three infamous words, “Time is money!” coined by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, during a different era, I should note.

But then I came across a New York Times article by Stefan Klein, author of “The Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense out of Life’s Scarcest Commodity.”

This article confirmed what I think I’ve always known at the back of my mind. That the concept of time is a tricky thing. Sometimes we think we don’t have enough of it, like when we’re trying to get too much done, and yet, why is it that at other times we accomplish more than we thought we could in an allotted amount of time?

Time becomes distorted when we buy into the rat-race mentality. We always have to be doing something, something that is supposed to better us, often things we don’t want to do, things we shouldn’t be doing, things we don’t really have time to do right, things that leave us feeling worn out, and sadly, without purpose, at the end of the day.

We only end up stressing ourselves out, and then the clock seems to go backward, because the more we try to do on borrowed time, the less we actually get done.

Franklin’s words were meant to be a stern warning against sitting idly. But even worse than being idle in today’s money-driven world, is to become obsessed with every minute and to try to put a price on time.

I returned to work at the newspaper recently, while still going to graduate school. To make matters worse, my first full week was last week, right during daylight saving time. On top of that, I was still trying to finish a yearbook project for Upward Bound at Eastern New Mexico University while also sending out applications for full-time teaching positions.

It’s times like this, coming back to your old stomping grounds, when you feel like you’re going backward instead of forward.
But I have to tell myself, I’m not stuck in reverse. It’s the roles that have been reversed.

I’m back in Journalism 101, but this time, I’m not in a learning mode. I’m in a teaching mode. I’m trying to refresh myself on the five Ws and one H rule of journalism (Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How), but also on new technology that I will be expected to teach to a new crop of journalists when I do get a college teaching job someday soon.

It’s a challenge sometimes to not allow myself to get stressed out over deadlines, like I did during my early days of journalism. But then again, it’s about much more than bylines to me now.

Also, I’ve finally learned over the years, as I’m sure many of you have, that work usually gets done by the end of the day, with or without stress. Sometimes it doesn’t. But guess what. Life goes on.

I’ve also had to stop myself from saying, “I don’t have time to exercise.” I make time. It’s when you think you don’t have time to exercise that you need to exercise the most. And like Mother Theresa said, “It’s when you say you don’t have time to pray that you need to pray the most.”

I think the best time management system is about setting priorities. As I’ve said before, these priorities must be a healthy balance of being in touch with God, nature and our fellow men.

It’s easy, when you hit that big 40, like me, to think time is money more than ever, because you’re not getting any younger and you still have goals and dreams to achieve.

But on this Good Friday, and everyday, we must look beyond ourselves. Think how much Jesus accomplished in only 33 years. He remained homeless and penniless until the day of his death and yet, he left us the biggest inheritance of all.

The value of your life cannot be measured by your wallet. It’s not about how much money you earn or spend during the time you’ve been allotted. It’s about how you spend this time that you’ve been allotted.

On Sept. 11, 2001, it was said that time stopped and the world stopped turning. Let the clock stop today, too, on this Good Friday, as we think about that man who was crucified on the cross more than 2,000 years ago. As long as we stay focused on that, we will continue to move forward in a meaningful life that transcends time.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. She can be reached at:
helena_rodriguez@link.freedom.com