Taking Time

I am fascinated by how subtle language shifts can influence our deeper reasoning. Little quirks of language sometimes reveal a more relevant meaning if you catch them at the right angle.

For instance, the way we talk about how much time something “takes.” It really does take it, doesn’t it? A task takes time – from you. You’re the one with the time, and only so much. And then something takes it from you.

We don’t refer to the fun stuff as “taking time” very often. Playing with my kids doesn’t “take time,” because that’s a phrase we reserve for marking things that have to be done but aren’t what we’d really choose to do if we didn’t require the outcome.

Interesting that “give it some time” usually just means “wait.” So you don’t have to give it time at all – you can go do something else!

But really, my work doesn’t “take time” either. I’m in charge around here, and if I didn’t want to give my time to that work, I wouldn’t. I make an active choice; I’m not robbed. At least, not by that.

Time is precious and I don’t like it stolen from me. I love driving but hate commuting, for example. Driving, when I choose to do it, is fun – music, scenery, perhaps good company, all that great stuff. But commuting often means traffic and other deadweight losses; now that’s something that “takes” time from me! So I choose to put myself in that path as little as possible. I avoid putting my time where it’s vulnerable to being taken.

Of course, the adage of “a man with nothing can’t be robbed” is true of time, too. If you want to truly avoid the possibility of your time being taken, then give it willingly – where you want it. Don’t be idle. Be fun.

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