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May 2, 2013

MAY: Simply a matter of time

We are in the midst of looking at the importance of getting back to the basics of life — looking for the important truths that can both simplify and enhance our experiences. Last week we looked at doing things simply. We peeked at the importance of having a purpose in what we do, whether at work, with our children or with our spouse. When we do things simply, we can concentrate on what is important and we can strive to do it really well.

The simple truth for today: We all have a limited amount of time. Although the numbers vary a bit, let’s say the average American lives to be 75 years of age. If the calculator doesn’t fail me, that works out to be 27,375 days, or 657,000 hours, or 39,420,000 minutes. The next time someone says, “Just give me a minute,” I will be tempted to reply, “Why? Isn’t 39 million enough?”

How often do you find yourself wasting time? If you do an Internet search for “time wasters,” you will find several websites listing the top 50 ways to waste time, online and off.  While I was thinking about this week’s column, I looked at several of these websites (It was research … I really wasn’t wasting time!). One of my favorites was www.watching-grass-grow.com . I suppose I really don’t have to say more. The website lists the time for the next scheduled mowing. It also makes your mouse-pointer turn into a lawn mower.  Scary thing? Since 2005 more than a million web surfers have watched grass grow. OK … time to move on.

The ancient Greeks talked about time with two different, distinct words. One word for time denoted the day-to-day moments of time. From that Greek word, we get the English word “chronology.” We are only allotted so many chronological moments. The other Greek word described time and its importance. Today, we often talk about spending “quality time” with our loved ones. 

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