“How you spend your time defines who you are.” This was the wisdom my Grandfather imparted while handing me my first “real” watch, a tiny silver Tissot. At the time I was more excited about finally having a watch that looked like his than I was about receiving this advice; however while I still have, and cherish, that watch I have come to realize the most valuable gift I got that day was a lesson on how to make the most of my life.
There are reminders of time all around us: the schoolroom clock that seemed to slow down every time you glanced up at it, the clock on the wall at the doctor’s office, at the bottom of our computer screens, on our phones. Often times we see time as an obstacle; something we have to get though or “kill”; something that stands in the way of us and whatever it is we are looking forward to be it vacation or getting off of work.
While it is easy to take for granted the seconds that tick by, it is crucially important to recognize that time is the best tool we have to change and shape our lives.
It is the time we devote to one another that forges and strengthens our relationships. It is the time we take to understand a problem that allows us to reach insightful solutions. It is the time we spend with our loved ones that gives us our most meaningful memories. It is the time we never get to spend with our loved ones again that brings about our greatest sorrows.
The ticking of a clock seems to last an eternity when you focus your attention on it. For many people the sound of a clock ticking can produce a sense of anxiety. Each second that passes is time “we can never get back.” Each tick brings us closer to our work deadlines and ultimately closer to the uncertainty of death.
However, my Grandfather’s response to this fear was to view each tick as a call to action. Each stroke of the seconds hand presented an opportunity, waiting to be seized. If you are mindful of how you spend your time, the time spent is an investment you are making towards yourself and, if you so choose, towards other people as well.
While my last name is Kloc (passed down by my time conscious Grandfather) it was not until I received that little silver Tissot that I understood the importance of mindfully spending the time I have. My Grandfather ignited my love for watches, partially because of how they look and the care that goes into making them, but more than that, because they are a constant reminder to live life to the fullest by purposefully choosing how to spend each moment I am given.
Everyday we are presented with a blank canvas. Much like a paint by number tableau, earnestly choosing what time we are going to devote to what tasks, to which causes, and to which people allows us to create the picture of our lives we desire. By deciding how to spend time we are deciding what is most important to us. In seeing time as a tool rather than an obstacle we are empowered not only to do what we want to do but to be who we want to be.