There is a bouncy old Hindi movie song where the heroine coyly asks the hero “Where did my heart go? It was here until a moment ago”
I feel like that about time. It feels like we just celebrated our hangover January 1 and look, here we are, staring at December 31 and the last year of the second decade of the 21st century!
And I bet most of us have hardly anything to show by way of improvement.
Studies show that most people break their resolutions by February 1 and a good percentage even forget what they have resolved by February 15.
So now we are looking at making SMART self-help promises that will tap the principles of neuroscience and set up sub-conscious reminders for you of your new beginnings in 2020. My view is that if it needs reminding, then it probably does not need fixing.
But on the topic of time and how we don’t seem to be able to control it, I do feel that we are living in a period where fewer people wear watches or hang clocks on their walls but are surrounded at every moment by the inexorable tick-tock, thanks to their mobile phone clock function and the IoT which has put a ticking clock on everything from the microwave to the refrigerator. You are reminded at every turn of the time and even preset appointments on Google Calendar.
So just what’s your excuse for clashing appointments which send you running out of a dance performance to the next meeting?
Now here’s my other theory: If you are terrific about punctuality and turn up 10 minutes early for every appointment – isn’t that a waste of time too?
If you have three meetings daily, that’s half an hour of being too early straight down the drain! Just as bad as being 10 minutes late for every meeting.
What I find really alarming is the way our lack of time has made even peaceful Bahrain jumpy and restless, with the kind of fragmented attention span among adults which we often accuse children and youth of.
Thrice this past month, I caught myself moving from one party to another halfway through because of overlapping commitments. A friend recently complained that her pet peeve is when dinner guests turn up an hour late, uncaring of the trouble she has taken so much care to prepare.
I mean, are you there only for the food? What about the conversation and the friendship that make a meal memorable?
So, despite my reservations about resolutions, I have made one for 2020. I am going to practise living in the moment and not make my life a multi-layered monument to half-kept appointments.
This means learning to say no, to pace oneself and dedicate a particular time slot to the meeting or event at hand and absorb oneself wholly in it.
In Bahrain, this is actually still possible since the community and the geography is compact.
All that remains is to make the tick-tock your guiding light.