About time

As several of my recent posts have been a tad too serious, here is a less solemn one on a nevertheless touchy topic: being on time. It seems like humanity is divided into two main groups; those for whom hours and minutes are etched in stone, immobile, unshakable and completely firm, and the rest who view time as a ‘for your recommendation only’, much like the Walk / Do Not Walk pedestrian traffic lights in New York City. The latter bunch, upon reading this blog entry, may react with, “say what?” While I suspect the time-keepers will nod their heads in sad agreement; recognizing themselves in the writings.

Although wanting to be on time is nothing out of the ordinary, I recently realized that the anxiety I may sense when a concern arises for being late, is actually an OCD. “Why?” you might ask.

(Pause, allowing time for you to ask.)

Because I tend to feel that angst even when the appointment I may run late for, is with a person who couldn’t care less if I am on time. But wait, that is not all. It gets even better. I feel at unease even when I may be late for a completely fictional deadline… Say I am running some errands, and according to my “master plan” I need to be at library by 10am, at the post office by 10:20am, pick up something from the supermarket by 10:50am and be back at home by 11:20am; all these are just arbitrary times I came up with. No one is expecting me at any of these places, nor must I be back home exactly by 11:20am. Still, I would feel distraught if I get off schedule due to, say, a chatty post office clerk, or heavy traffic on the road. Mind you, I am quite good with time planning, leaving plenty of room for the unexpected. Yet, just the thought of a slight digression from my precious timeline, can foul my mood. In my mind I am like Lieutenant Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith of the A-Team, puffing my cigar and, with a grin smeared all over my face saying, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Nothing less will do.

For people like me, who are almost always on time, or else pay dearly by means of self-torture, meeting others who do not suffer from such an OCD is incomprehensible. That someone would come late for a meeting, and will show no remorse, brushing time off as vanity, is an unforgivable insult, punishable by hours of water-boarding. Let’s see what such souls, not haunted by the need to follow the march of the clock, would have to say once water drops slowly over their smugged faces; how insignificant would minutes seem then! But alas, puff goes that vision, and I realize, with some degree of horror might I add, that I am the defective one; the person that has the real problem. The world belongs to people who have plenty of time, enough of it even to be late. I am just a visiting alien from a planet enslaved by two large arms; one longer than the other, and all I am doing is trying unsuccessfully to assimilate.

Learned from: self-observation, considering why I stress out about being late for my own arbitrary timeline.


About Ronen

Ronen Divon had been walking spiritual and holistic paths for well over thirty years. Born in Israel, educated in New York, and currently residing in North Carolina, Ronen had traveled the world, spending time with teachers, masters, healers and guides. With wisdom that spans multiple traditions, including the Far East, India, Israel, Brazil, Peru, and Native America, Ronen remains a student, learning and adding modalities that will best serve his clients, each according to their own unique needs. Ronen is also a published author, a Yoga, Meditation, and Tai Chi instructor.
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2 Responses to About time

  1. Smadar says:

    I wouldn’€™t mind if you would choose to make this post as serious as your previous ones.

    In my opinion, time is a dead serious topic;

    Since it€™s by far our most precious asset.

    Wasting time is, again, by far worse than wasting money.

    The reason most people are not aware of it, is unclear.

    Perhaps it’€™s because thinking deeply

    about the meaning the implications€“ of wasting time

    (or forcing the other to waste his time, by being late for meeting / for completing task) –

    is too frightening.

    Thanks for bringing this subject up.



    • Ronen says:

      Whilst I agree with you that time is all we have, and that unlike knowledge, money and friends, it is not something we can accumulate, the point I was trying to make is that there are people for whom the concept of time is very different. Just visit a Caribbean island and it’s like a whole different universe. So much so that there is an idiom for it – Caribbean Time, which means: relax, there is no rush (which is why you should never arrive at a restaurant in the Caribbean already hungry…)
      What bothers me more are people who are two-faced about time. Take doctors for example: if they make an appointment to come see you whereas you are the professional, they would expect you to see them on time; whilst many of the doctors I know set an appointment time for you (when you need to see them,) in such a manner that you need to wait a good 20-30 min before they will see you. The excuse is that they run late with an earlier patient and much like I would like them to give me their full attention, I need to be understanding when I am asked to wait while they are held up with someone else. It is all fine and dandy if it was just a onetime incident but it is not. Many doctors have their staff schedule patients in too short of intervals so they (the doctors) never need to wait, and thus maximize their time and profits. To me it shows disrespect. I do happen to have a dentist that is always busy but schedule people in a way that I never have to wait. The one time I was not taken in on schedule, he came out to apologize. That I appreciate. No water-boarding for him… 🙂

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