When We Take Time, We Gain Time

Darren Tunnicliff (flickr.com)Artwork by Darren Tunnicliff

Thought for the Week

My friend Allen once wrote a script about a fast-food stand. In one scene, a smart, ambitious teenage girl slaps at coins, attempting to make “quick” change for her customers. The annoyed customers watch as she drops their change on the floor, hurls their burgers into a bag, and tears their receipts in half—all in roughly twice the time the chatty airhead at the next register takes. Yet the ambitious girl honestly believes she’s “saving time.”

It recently struck me that, even though I’m well beyond sixteen and very much of the male persuasion, I’m that teenage girl. My hyperactive metabolism, coupled with years of diligent practice, have programmed me to race about bumping into things, trying to do two or three things at once, sloppily and badly, rather than one thing smoothly and well.

And so, as an experiment, I began forcing myself to stop and take long, deep breaths every time I caught myself hurrying. Only then, after thinking “what’s next?” would I allow myself to thoughtfully and intentionally resume my activity.

At first, these pauses seemed wasteful, extravagant, even if they did hold a certain indefinable peace. But oddly enough, I discovered that, in those “spaces-between-the-spaces,” time seemed to pause with me, and then to resume when I resumed. I know this defies the laws of economics, but I’m finding that:

When I take time, rather than “save” time, I gain time.

Near the ending of The Time Machine, one of my favorite movies as a kid, the inventor of the titular device disappears into the future. His housekeeper asks where he’s gone, and his best friend replies, “I don’t know, but he has all the time in the world.”

Time doesn’t follow the laws of economics, it follows the same mysterious laws that made us, and occupies the same spaces we occupy. In fact, it’s a part of us—we are time machines. So when we take time, we gain time. And we find…

We have all the time in the world.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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37 Responses to When We Take Time, We Gain Time

  1. (lump in throat) God taught me that the hard way: two decades of fibromyalgia, when I couldn’t write at all much of the time. The brain fog has eased and, even though I’m (ahem) two decades older, what a joy it is to have still “had the time” to publish my second book (over the weekend) with at least two more lurking in my brain!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. rothpoetry says:

    I love this Mitch! So many lessons to learn here. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so true! You see it with small children. You clean up their messes because that’s the quickest way to do it at the moment, and you’ve got stuff to do. But if you take the time to teach them to pick up after themselves, to fold their own laundry, to fix their own snacks, you’ll get that time back (and more) later.
    (Not that I did it that way…. 🙄)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Piano girl says:

    Love this, Mitch! And I also like the movie Time Machine.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yet another writing of wisdom. ‘It takes time to make time,’ is a saying I like to use. I made that up to go along side, “It takes money to make money.” Time machine is a great movie and that message from it represents how we need to spend our time, making time 😀 Blessings and honor, Christine

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great truth spoken here. And isn’t it odd that this lesson seems to be best learned in the twilight of life… when time becomes such a precious commodity. Thanks for continuing to think, Mitch.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Excellent advice!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It wasn’t until I reached 60 I grasped the power of pauses. Pausing to breathe, to notice, to think, to wonder, to be grateful. To give myself permission to just be. For me, pausing — taking time — has been life-changing.
    Thank you for this post, Mitch.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Thanks Mitch, this was much needed. I have been “frazzled” lately due to my tight schedule, and this made me realize I have the authority to take the time to slow down if need be. 🕰

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Matilda Novak says:

    This is Precisely what i needed to read at this moment in time….
    AND to incorporate into my daily life!
    Thank you dear friend.
    i’m going to share this with my sister.
    We’ve been walking through a bit of a storm, and almost forgotten at times
    how to breathe.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. endean0 says:

    Something that is so simple and true, but so hard to learn. It’s taken me until retirement to realise this. Great post.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Very nice point, the time to reflect and get a perception of ourselves makes such a beautiful impact in the way we see things and also identify our time as well

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I guess time is the only thing that you can save or get by actually using it…?

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Ann Coleman says:

    You’re right, the more we hurry, the less time we seem to have. I have a friend who has one speed for everything: slow. And yet she is almost always on time, and rarely gets ruffled. When I spend time with her, I am reminded how much better it is to simply take my time.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. There’s an old saw about needing to spend $ to save $.  Time is like that too.

    When I rush, I lose much more time cleaning up a mess than I would have saved if I had not made a mistake.  Apart from rushing less, I have slowly learned to laugh at my unplanned slapstick performances.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Allen W says:

    OMG I’d forgotten that character! This is so true. A while back I read Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, and I realized that while a second and a half is no time at all. If you actually time it, it takes forever. You never realize how much time you have to think before you act without taking any time at all.

    Liked by 3 people

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