I want to share a piece I read that focuses in on our perspective of time, Mental Health Musings… by Carly Namdar. The piece focuses on different perceptions of time she experiences in our current climate.
The first point is how we have been forced to reconfigure how we mark milestones and time.
Some say we’ve been robbed of the milestones we thought we were going to have, while others have altered their expectations and pivoted creatively to turn celebrations into smaller, more meaningful experiences. I’ve read so many posts about making the moments at home count, savoring the time we have now and considering what is within our circles of control, while others are preaching that productivity is not the yardstick by which we should be measuring our progress.
I have found myself reflecting on this with regard to funerals and grieving. With the changes in how we remember the recently deceased, how we bury someone and the lost opportunities for fulfilling time-honored rituals in the usual manners, what are the moments like. Can we create quality over quantity? In funerals I have officiated it, my message is quality. With smaller groups, the service is more intimate and I believe allows for a deeper connection to the memory of the deceased. Families have opportunity to reflect and share, laugh and cry in a less formal way than if it is a large gathering. The value is in the reframing of the time spent.
Beyond the marking of milestones, we are left asking how we are using time. What changes to our life schedule have we been able to make, perhaps forced to make and is it working? What are the difficulties we experience in the day to day with all the changes?
A little further down, the author describes how her watch stops as a metaphor for her perspective on time.
My watch just stops, out of the blue, all the time. I take it off my wrist, leave it untouched and sure enough, it starts working again if I just leave it alone. I’ve heard about theories of excess electricity and magnetism in the body that can actually slow a watch down or make it stop altogether. Sometimes I wonder if G-d is sending me a sign to scale things back, wind myself down and focus on the present, or forget about the time that’s ticking away … sometimes we may just need to tune in more to our own messages with compassion and acceptance, so that we can give of ourselves to others, and take a mindful step away from our technology.
This picture of the watch stopping and restarting is a powerful one in helping us think through how we use time in general. Can we pause and restart? And when we restart, will we remember how we felt about time during these critical moments?