How do we spend our time and does it change as we get older? Roger Waters’ lyrics to the Pink Floyd song Time are said to be inspired by Waters’ realisation that time was slipping by and he was no longer preparing for anything in life.
It strikes me that there is a real danger that we can either be overly focused on doing something to the detriment of actually living life (think about John Lennon’s famous quote that life is what happens when we are making other plans), or just drifting with no purpose. It’s not that drifting along aimlessly doesn’t serve a purpose. I think there are times when we need the restorative quality of just allowing our self to drift along the river of life and see where it takes us. The problem, as Waters describes, is that in the long term it can ultimately lead to frustration and a sense of missing out:
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
It’s moments like these when we can start to feel we are just waiting for life to happen rather than living it purposefully and to its full:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day … Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
The frustrating thing for many people is that when they recognise this, they don’t always have a solution as to what to do next. Again, I find Waters’ reflection fascinating:
So, you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again... Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time. Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.
We try to make up for time lost. Impossible. We try to make plans. They come to nothing. What we need is a realistic, flexible plan which recognises where we are now and has a sense of direction and purpose, but with realistic, achievable micro goals. This is where I find coaching a really useful tool. For a start, knowing where you’d like to be in the future. Not in precise detail (remember John Lennon’s quote above), but in terms of at least heading in the right direction. Then breaking this down into mini journey’s you can take, recognising the complications of your own landscape and environment. This includes a recognition that we all need times of rest and reflection and not just speeding to your destination without enjoying your journey.
This is such a common challenge that we have a short 60 second video to help you. Enjoy! And to paraphrase the words of Waters; don’t spend too much time hanging on in quiet desperation as the English way.
Need a greater sense of direction or urgency? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood.
Taken from the album:
Photo by noor Younis on Unsplash
No-one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.