The Time of Your Life



Time is the coin of life.

Only you can determine how it will be spent.

                                              Carl Sandburg


Mary Oliver in her poem The Summer Day leaves us with the question, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

How would you reply to her question?

The Language of Time

Our culture encodes multiple messages about time into our language .

We take time.

We make time.

We take time out.  

We take time off.  

Time flies when you are having fun.

Time can be lost, gained and wasted.

We have war times and peace times; hard times and good times.

We have festive times and sad times.

Qualities of time

We have Mother Earth but we have Father Time.

As we age we are called “old timers”. There seem to be no “young timers”.

Time is precious; we are to value time.

Time is money.

We speak of their being “signs of the time.”

Even scripture speaks eloquently about time. Ecclesiates 3: 1-8, is a cherished Bible passage suggesting that over our lifetime there is A time for everything.

The measure of time

Our timing can be wrong.

We can even have too much time on our hands.

Time passes quickly or time passes slowly.

Things can take a long time or a short time.

We have feelings about people who are late, or early.

We divide time into units – decades or years or eras.

The demands of time

To be “short” of time, is to be pressured for time.

We are paid in intervals of time –  by the hour, week, or month.

For many projects, timing is everything.

  • Too much time in the oven ruins a roast. Too little time leaves it too rare.
  • Invest at the “right” time, you make money. Invest at the wrong time and your investments drop.

         We are expected to manage our time. 

Relationships require quality time.

We are slaves to deadlines.

The experience of time 

We all have the same amount of time in a day but not in a lifetime.

Our perception of time changes over time. At ten, a year is 10 percent  of our life. At eighty, a year is 1.25% of our life. No wonder if feels like time is passing quickly.

Time for reflection is treated like a luxury. Busyness is privileged over quiet time. Yet,  

A reflective life takes time but so does repeating the stupid moments of our lives…When I am 80, I want to feel 80. I want to have earned the wrinkles, enjoyed the peace, know what my life was about…I want to have enjoyed noticing my life. Not wake up at some undesignated age wondering where I have been and what I have been doing for 20 years, unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for how I have used my time.

                           Adapted from Living Life as a Writer by  R. Jevne


Our relationship to time changes over time. What takes priority at one time in our life changes.

          In our senior years, we savor time.

I don’t do hurry well any more.

It isn’t that I dawdle.

I just don’t do hurry well any more.


Being on time still matters

But I start a few minutes late

Thinking everything moves

Like it did thirty years ago

When really –

I just don’t do hurry well anymore.


I don’t do hurry well any more.

It’s not all bad.

I savour my morning tea.

I notice the dew on the deck.

I wonder –

who designed the hummingbird?


I don’t do hurry well anymore.

I let the silence be.

I have no interest in the news.

It’s enough to brush my teeth

without an update on Syria.

It’s enough to eat a breakfast of privilege.

and be grateful.


I don’t do hurry well anymore.

I want my soul to walk-

To leave the human “race” to others.

I want to see what I once missed.

What I once scurried by

in the name of efficiency.

I want to taste the jam on my toast.

I want my friend to feel heard.


I don’t do hurry well anymore.

I don’t have time to do hurry well any more.

               By Ronna Jevne


Tune in to Time

Listen to “Time in a Bottleand ask yourself, “With whom do I want to spend time?”. It might be just one person or it might be many.



Use writing to explore your relationship to time

Select a routine week. Do a time log. Time logs record your activities, often in 15 or 30 minute segments. At the end of the week, you will have a record of what you have done with “your one wild and precious life.”

 Review the log.

  • Any surprises?
  • Anything you would like to do differently?
  • If someone ran a video of your life for the week, what would they conclude are your values?

From your time log,  list:

  • the times you most enjoyed
  • the time you spent on the daily life requirements (sleeping, bathing, eating)
  • things that you feel were a waste of time
  • times when you felt pressured for time.

Based on your reflections, schedule time to do what you truly would like to do – how you would like to live “your one wild and precious life”.






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