Thursday, February 7, 2008

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Well, a stock answer to the title of this posting might be – It's later then it's ever been. And, that is a true statement. The title is also the title of a song performed by one of my favorite bands – Chicago. The title line is followed up by the line “Does anyone really care?” An interesting point to ponder.

There are people in our society who run every minute of their day by their watch. Obviously, some things are very time dependent – such as if you have a structured radio or TV format and have specific features that are promoted and expected at specific times – such as news and weather forecasts. Getting a newspaper to bed in time to get it on and off the press and out for delivery before the news is too old. Certainly, there are many, well maybe most people who live by the chronograph on their wrist, or the kitchen clock, the clock on the microwave, the clock on their computer, the clock radio (does anyone really still use a plain old alarm clock anymore), the clock on the dashboard of their car or the clock on their cell phone (doesn't everyone have a cell phone?). We have become obsessed with time. Everywhere you go it's constantly pointed out to you. Outdoor clock/temperature displays on banks, drugstores, real estate offices, etc. If you listen to the radio – they are always giving you time checks. Talk about enslavement. But, we take this all for granted and in stride. Our lives have been controlled since we were infants – it's time for the 3 AM feeding, it's nap time, it's bed time. And this time control becomes ever more pervasive the older we get.

So, the two questions again . . . “Does anybody really know what time it is?” and “Does anybody really care?” I have only two motivators in my life – Time and Freedom – more specifically PERSONAL Freedom. They are related, but I'm only focusing on time here. Time is my most valuable commodity. It is priceless. Do you know anyone who would set a price on the days, minutes, seconds left in his or her life? I don't think I do. But, I've heard people say they would give ANYTHING if they could just have a little more time. A little more time for what? Time to spend with family members. Time to spend with friends. Time to say 'I love you.' Time to say 'I'm sorry.” Time to cast that fishing line one more time. Time to touch one more life. You fill in the blank – Time to ________________________________.

Right now, I'm sitting here at my little desk (I recently sold my BIG desk) looking into the woods behind my home while I'm composing this posting. The sky is bright but overcast. There is a cold front pushing through, the trees are moving briskly – it was 64 degrees at this time (there's that word again) yesterday. Today it's about 44 degrees (that's Fahrenheit for all of you reading this who are on the metric system). I'm listening to one of my favorite bands on a CD – who else? Chicago . . . today. I have a lot of things sitting on my desk to accomplish and some other things to do in my recording studio. But for right now, I have TAKEN THIS TIME to write this post. At this moment, the most important thing in my world and life is sharing these thoughts with you and I don't mean that in the plural. Yes, I'm talking to YOU.

I'm pointing out this concept of time because the sooner you grasp the reality and truth of this, the sooner you will be free. Many years ago, I guess I was probably about 33 years old, another young man, about my age, who's time on this planet was very limited only we didn't know that until a few months later, taught me a lesson. He was a former school teacher and he became an Amway distributor. Yep! Amway! And, before you speculate, yes, I was one, too. While Tom became very financially successful in the business, I didn't! However, I learned a lot about a lot of things in that business. My pre-Amway distributor days and actually how I got involved in the Amway business was through my recording and cassette (remember those) duplication business. I produced hundreds of thousands of cassettes a year for Amway distributors. At any rate, I was meeting Tom in State College, PA (his home) to record a program and I didn't do something I said I would do before I drove to State College. Tom put me on the spot and asked if I had done whatever it was. I said, I didn't HAVE the time to do it. He simply replied, “You mean you didn't MAKE the time to do it!” He was right! I let other things control my time, thus, controlling my life. It was a simple statement, but I have never forgotten it. Tom died the day before Thanksgiving that year (1978) in a fireball when his brand new, twin engine Piper Seneca II crashed at full throttle into a mountain in zero visibility. Time got control of Tom, too. He bought the plane and became a pilot to travel greater distances in shorter periods of time. Unfortunately, the weather was bad all over the east coast that day and Tom should have canceled his meeting on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He didn't and he died. His time ran out – way too soon.

That story wasn't meant to bum you out. It was simply to illustrate how valuable time is and how much we take it for granted and let it control each of us. I stopped wearing a wrist watch last September when I went to a get-away with a group of friends on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I always had a watch on since I was a youngster. When we arrived at the beach, a few of my friends took their watches off and suggested I do the same. It was like going naked (which by the way can be very freeing). I spent the week without a watch. I decided that week that I was not going to wear a watch any longer and it took me at least a couple months to stop looking at my left wrist all day long. Yes, I do have all the other clocks that I mentioned before – and, of course, my handy-dandy cell phone. But, I don't spend near as much time managing my life by the clock anymore. I tend to not make many appointments that are very rigid on time – so it doesn't matter if I'm a little early or a little late. If it's something like a doctor's appointment, I take the earliest appointment they have – like when they arrive in the morning. I have let them know how important my time is and that I want them to earn their money providing the appropriate medical services for me, but I do not want them WASTING or disrespecting my time. So, I'm usually in and out and on to whatever else I had planned for the day – which may include . . . NOTHING! I'll revisit Time in future posts.

If you're new to reading this blog, go to the first posting: “Welcome to My World!” which will appear the beginning of each month in the archives and you'll gain some insight about what this blog is all about.



John W. Abert said...

Another thing we have in common. Yes, we were in Amway, too, twice, as a matter of fact. But that was many years ago, in our "up north" days.

I know this is an extremely old post by blog standards, but I'm just catching up.

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Hi John,

Thanks for going back and reading these old posts. Boy, this was one of my earliest posts on this blog. I actually began playing around with blogging in 2005, I believe, but didn't get serious and start to really develop the "voice" I was looking for until I started the Living Free blog. It was about this time when I was really beginning to figure out what was missing from my life and in what direction I needed to begin heading. I was still on my small (49 acre) ranch at this time and I remember sitting at that little desk in the fishbowl section of my family room looking into the wooded part of the property behind the house.

Much has changed since then including leaving the ranch on October 31st of this year. After being a "responsible" adult and always having a fixed home for 40+ years, I have become "free" again leaving behind a 60+ year life, all the trappings and stuff and the OVERHEAD. My monthly overhead were reduced by 80% the next month.

And, while did didn't discuss the Amway business too much in this post, I was involved for about five years, had a direct distributorship and groups in various parts of the U.S. I learned a lot from that business - some very good and some not so good.

Thanks for your comments.