What Time Is
You can tell people what is the time, but it is very difficult to tell them what time is!
Recently, I was teaching my kids what time is. And I was at a loss for words. How do you explain what time is? You can teach people how to tell time. You can tell them how to manage time. But how do you define time?
So I did some research to understand what time is, only to find out that time is the scariest thing in this world.
Dictionaries define time as
Time is the continued sequence of events that occurs in an irreversible succession from the past through the present and into the future.
I read it several times to understand and then several times more just to figure out how to explain what time actually is. I ended up breaking the definition of time into smaller parts and that is when things turned scary.
- Time is the continued sequence of events, which means that time is continuous and that it never stops. It keeps moving.
- Time is a sequence of events, which means ‘something is always happening’ and they are happening in a ‘sequence’ i.e. one after the other. At any point of time an event is thrown at us and we are expected to respond to it.
- The events occur in an irreversible succession. You cannot go back in time. So time does not give you the chance to go back and fix your mistakes.
- And the final part is, since time never stops and it never moves backward, then it means that time always move forward bringing us from the past, through the present and taking us into the future.
At the end of my explanation, my kids were yawning but my eyes were fully lit up! I guess I never put a lot of time into understanding what time actually is. And now that I had studied it carefully I realized that time is the scariest thing in this world. Why? Because time is going to continuously move forward and throw an event at you asking for a response from your side. And if you are not prepared for it, you lose and time wins. Whatever the result of your previous battle you can’t stop to celebrate or sulk, as time never stops, it just moves forward and throws another event at you. You don’t get time to recover, you don’t get time to celebrate. Whether you want it or not time will move forward. Whether you like it or not, it will throw an event at you. And you have to respond. You can’t quit, you can’t hide because in essence time is always with you.
But all is not gloom and doom. One common thing that you would find in successful people from any walk of life, is that they have embedded this definition of time deep within themselves. At any point of time, they seem to be ready to respond to the event thrown at them. And when they fail, like all humans do, they just get up and get ready for the next event. They keep riding the wave of time as an expert swimmer would. Not stopping, not resting, not sulking about this wave or that. They know, like the swimmer knows, that if they stop they will drown or might never reach the shore. They have to, and they do, keep moving forward. They are prepared for all possible outcomes. They know that their responding action will dictate the next event that time throws at them. So they design their responses accordingly. e.g. They know that they might fall sick, so they adopt healthy habits, they know that one day they would retire, so they save and invest, they know that one day they would die, so they prepare for the hereafter.
And the final scary part. Time is continuous and all continuous things will eventually stop. Time too, at one point, will stop…