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Rated: E · Essay · Philosophy · #2241795
Time is one of the most undervalued things we possess & to the old, the most important.
As we age, time seems to pass more quickly. And for me, what feels like only a few days and a week has passed...what feels like a few weeks and half a year has gone, and in what seems no time at all...looking back on a life that went by way too quickly.

Very few people can honestly say they have no regrets, and fortunately for us all, we cannot travel back in time to rectify our mistakes, no matter how much we may wish we could. A more practical way of dealing with regret is to accept our mistakes, along with the knowledge that we learned from them...perhaps even more so than from the successes.

And it's not just having to face our past that time brings to us. Obviously, our bodies don't respond in the same way as when we were younger. We can try to keep as fit as possible...be active and try new hobbies, but the reality is we are fighting a losing battle, and inevitably, no matter how much effort we put into these, our twilight years, mortality will come and take us whether we are ready for that to happen or not.

As I discovered when we had to make the difficult decision to place my father into aged care because of his dementia, there is a period between living a relatively normal life as an aging person, and all that comes with that, to then becoming unable to look after one's self because of the loss physical or cognitive function. I watched on helplessly as this terrible disease took away my father's memory, and I came to realize how important time can be, and how easy it is to take for granted, just how much time we have left.

My father had no real awareness of his situation, but for those of us who visited him, seeing what was happening before our very eyes, became a time of reflection and insight into what may just be our own destiny. It is at moments like this, when a true understanding of just how important time is, becomes apparent, along with its true value, and when you think about it, time (aside from material possessions, which are of no value once we are out of time), is the only thing we possess that has any real value at all.

One-third of our life is spent sleeping, one-third working and the last third is supposed to be spent doing what we love, even if that means doing nothing at all. That's how it was before the industrial revolution brought us more than just cheaper and more widely available goods...and smog. It also changed the way we work and the amount of time we are asked to commit in return for a paycheque.

This ever-increasing demand from industry for more of our time, which was cleverly rebranded as 'flexibility' (which is ominously and ironically similar to euphemisms such as 'friendly fire' and 'collateral damage' and is ambiguous in its approach), in the hope of altering our perceptions and attitudes towards work by way of deception, or by other means, such as offering extra pay. Unfortunately, it is only by the time we are old, that we realize the true value of what it was we gave away.

Incentives are the main tool used to persuade workers to get with the program, but industry is not averse to using anything within its power, be it guilt, or even threats (if you won't, we'll find someone who will) to achieve their objectives (objectives equate to more profit) by justifying that it is a worker's duty to sacrifice, for the greater good of the company. And so, in exchange for the only thing that is of any value to them (money), we exchange the only thing that is of any real value to us (our time)...as ironic as that is.

If someone is young, this exchange, along with a pat on the back, may appear to make up for time lost, but even if you save for early retirement, not only will it be the time that is gone, but also the youthful energy you once had, and if we only we knew then, what we know now...the most precious of assets, in exchange for a little extra pay, and to those who deserved it least.

We believe the spin when we are young...that if we work hard, pay our taxes, and pay our dues, all our dreams will be within reach...but the truth is not always what we expect, and regret...blindly accepting what we were told, by those who only cared about getting the job done, as quickly and cheaply as possible, is usually the only thing that remains.

Regret teaches us what not to do in the future, but time does not. Time does but one thing, it tells us when we have it...and when we don't.

Time is the gift we are born with, and your time belongs to nobody but you, so...think...feel...look around you and work out what's important, and what's not...while you still have time.
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