“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C.S. Lewis
I think I was about ten years old when I first saw Terminator. I lived out in the country and didn’t have access to whatever movie or show was popular at the time. So, my grandmother would bring home a stack of VHS rentals to keep me entertained. Most of the time she had no idea what the videos were about but figured guns and robots were ideal for a young boy. I had no clue what I was watching. This amazing and terrifying story of an apocalyptic future ruled by time-traveling robots unfolded into new areas of my brain. After that, I was hooked on the concept of time travel. As an adult I still love the idea, overused as it may be; it opens the door to nearly unlimited and shifting storylines. Lately, however, what has truly caught my attention about the concept is just how different it is from the reality in which we live.
We Are Finite
One of the amazing things about the concept of time travel is that all of time is made available to us. Want to go back in time and chew out your boss and then go forward in time to see what the consequences are? No problem. Wish you knew how life would have turned out if you had stayed with your high school or college sweetheart? Easy. Wish you had spent more time with your kids? Push a button and it’s done. Now contrast this with how time actually works.
You and I have this very moment, and then it’s gone. That’s it. We have no control over the past and very little control over the future. We are bound to bodies and a world that is diminishing. As humans, and as men, we have always placed value in rare things, yet in the last few generations, we have come to have a frivolous view of our brief and allotted time.
A Man Values His Time
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Ben Franklin
The value of our time equates to the value we place on our lives, for the two are tied together. Yet, our world of ease often leads to the wasting of time, and we have unknowingly adopted the aristocratic Victorian view of happiness: that it is derived from fleeting pleasures and comfort. However, as men, we were made to work and to grow, and the purposeful investment of our time has a strong correlation to our quality of life.
Whenever I think about this topic, my mind goes quickly to the countless hours spent on Facebook or Instagram, or the weeks of my life I have lived in front of the television being entertained by the fictional lives of others. Someone once said, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time,” though I don’t believe I agree with that statement. There is a prudent use of our time, which includes taking it easy, but I have found that unscheduled time is more often squandered than not.
Much of our wasted moments stems from the belief that we (and thus our time) are not that valuable. That we cannot make a difference in our small window of time with our small sphere of influence. The truth is, we are making a difference regardless. To bring it back around, each of us experiences a constant butterfly-effect — geeks, you know what I’m talking about! Everything we do matters. A frivolous view of time steals from our legacy and robs us of the manful life we are called to live. Though our names may never make it into a history book, generations to follow will be moved by our actions.