…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
Part of my recent push to finish certain things this year involves reading Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and in the introduction to the tale by Man of Law are these lines, spoken by the host, originally written in old English but translated/edited here for your convenience:
Lose no time, insofar as you may,
The time wastes away night and day,
And steals from us, in part imperceptibly when sleeping,
And in part through negligence when we are waking (awake),
As does the stream that never turns back again,
Descending from the mountain into the plain.
Well can Seneca and many a philosopher
Bewail time more than gold in a coffer;
For ‘Loss of property may recovered be,
But loss of time ruins us,’ said he.
Further to this I have found:
“The greatest loss of time is delay and expectation, which depend upon the future. We let go the present, which we have in our power, and look forward to that which depends upon chance, and so relinquish a certainty for an uncertainty.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC – 65) Roman Philosopher & Playwright
I don’t know why some of us have this greater urge not to waste our valuable time, while others are happy to sit back and relax more, and let the world glide on by – I see no fault in this, generally; I mean, I’m not “All Go!” for every waking hour of every day, although sometimes I wish more people, in particular the ones I hold dear to me, would do a little more, but at the same time I realise this is more a criticism of myself than of them. However, I am aware of my own calling to do more and keep busy and that’s through seeing people leave this/my life at too young an age… though to say they left me isn’t accurate, since they’re still here spurring me on. It’s good for motivation. And I’m still here to spur you on with this post!
However, from Seneca’s perspective, perhaps I’m fearing the future, rather than living in the present, whereas those that sit back and relax are surely more in the moment, and in the present, detached from the past and from the inevitable future.
Yesterday I was thinking about “spare time”, and before this I have considered what it means for those that “work the 9-5”; the “typical” daily job five or six days a week, with early alarm calls and then staggering home too tired to put mental thought into much else – it seems to me that my spare time is busy time (or at least I try my best to make it this way), or rather I’m in such a position that I work in my spare time, and rarely work what could be considered a 9-5 job – I’m self-employed so I work when things are asked of me, and lucky for me I’m not asked too much. Of course there are downsides to this, the main one being money, but here again my life revolves around my means. Is my work-life balance wrong? Sadly for lots of people throughout the world, pay is so low that they have to work excessive hours just to make ends meet, but for many people it seems that it is their lifestyle that really governs how many hours they work; perhaps we all need to consider how we sell our time (or buy the time of others).