Time, Time, Time

I never have enough time.  And I’m always craving more time.  Days flick by like I’m an accelerating time traveler.

Every year at Christmas I take off two weeks.  I always have big ambitions for my windfall of free time, but I never get done all the things I plan.  This year is no exception.  I have two days of freedom left and I’m depressed that I won’t have more.  I never have enough time, and I’m so envious of all my friends who have retired.  But those friends tell me that they’re as busy as ever.  I guess we never get enough time, even when we have all our time free.

And it’s not like I’m doing anything very important.  I go to bed at night regretting the friends I didn’t see, the albums I didn’t play, the television shows I didn’t watch, the books I didn’t read, the dirt I didn’t clean, the clutter I didn’t organize, the thoughts I didn’t think, the ideas I didn’t write about, the characters I didn’t develop, the photographs I didn’t take, the programs I didn’t write, and so on.  And that doesn’t even count the big ambitious goals I’ll never do like learn how to play the guitar, build a robot or become a chess player.  The list goes on and on.

My days start the same way every day, and my nights end the same way every night.  These morning and evening routines remind me just how much my life is like a clock, or how much our lives are based on rhythms.

I get up and let Nicky the cat out of the bedroom, petting him while he meows loudly at me for locking him in for the night.  He yells at me every morning.  I pick up his wet food bowl and follow him to the main bathroom where I get him fresh water for his daytime water bowl.  I take the wet food bowl to the kitchen and put it in the sink to rinse out, and then put on a finger cot and squeeze out .5 ml of medicine and go rub it in Nicky’s ear while he’s drinking his water.  I set my watch timer for 25 minutes and go check email.  Nicky comes in and sits in his chair next my desk chair and I pet him while I read emails.  When the alarm goes off I go back in the kitchen and fix Nicky one quarter can of Fancy Feast.  I then get a syringe and fill it with .5 cc of lactulose.  I pick Nicky up and put him on the counter and calm him down  with some petting and friendly chatting before forcing his mouth open and squirting the medicine onto the side of his mouth.  His reward is the bowl of wet food.

Now I go back to the bedroom take off my clothes, start the shower, weigh myself and touch my toes 15 times.  I shower, dry off, put on my underwear.  I go back into the kitchen and repeat the procedure with the lactulose but this time reward Nicky with one teaspoon of Yoplait original yogurt.  Then I go to my exercise room, put on my socks and do 15 minutes of physical therapy exercises for my back.  After that I put on my pants and shoes and do 130 reps of rowing and 30 arms pulls on the Bowflex to further strengthen my lower back.  Finally I eat my breakfast.

With all that done I can start my day.  What I do each day varies, but it’s surprisingly routine.

At night, around 10 pm I do Nicky’s medicine again, the third round of the day, in three parts spaced 25 minutes apart.  I usually watch TV while waiting between doses.  Finally, I lock Nicky in the bedroom, with his bowl of wet food, some extra crunchies, his heating pad and some new water in his nighttime bowl.  I then go to my office where I sleep in a chair because of my back.  If I didn’t lock Nick in the bedroom he’d walk on me all night long.  I undress and put on sweat pants for PJs, and put Restasis in my eyes.  I then go put on the alarm, turn off the lights and go to bed in my La-Z-Boy.  The last thing I do is think about all the things I didn’t get done during the day and think about all the things I want to do the next day.

Nicky’s getting old and I have no plans for another pet.  I’ll have to alter my routine, but I guess I get a few more minutes of time for each day.


In about a year I hope to retire.  That will get me a lot more time, but it will never be enough.  And then one day I’ll run out of time completely.

Maybe it’s time to think about the things I really want to do.  Maybe now is the time to prioritize my activities and time.

Is that even possible?

The year 2012 is almost over.  I wonder if there’s anything I really meant to do before it finishes?  How did it get to be 2012?  I remember so clearly 50 years ago thinking 1992 was the far future, and 2012 was unthinkable almost.

Time, time, time…

Does time really exist?  Is it a quantity we can bank or squander?

I love my life and what I do.  One of the things I like to do is bitch about not having enough time.  Bitch, bitch, bitch, that’s how I am about time.

Doesn’t everyone?  Does anyone ever have enough time?

So it goes.

JWH – 12/30/12

12 thoughts on “Time, Time, Time”

  1. Jim, I hear you. But you’ve been in this existential stasis place for pretty much the decade I’ve known you. Light the effin’ fuse, man, get out of that head and DO! Better to do dumb things and even fail than have regrets. Manly hugs, and Happy New Year to you!

  2. Would you try thinking of the friends you did see, the albums you did play, the books you did read, etc. ? Seriously.
    Perhaps, one of the first book to read could be about Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn or something like it 😉
    Carpe diem!

  3. I’ve been thinking about time, also. How quickly it goes by in the blink of an eye. The thought hit me yesterday that if I live another 10 years, minimum, that is only 3,650 days, which hardly seems like enough time at all. Today, I started my day with a new to-do planner and vowed to avoid my computer until now, after I had finished the goals I had set earlier. No surprise, I got infinitely more done. As someone who adores surfing/finding new info/researching what ever interests me at the moment, I’ve come to realize that it is eating away my life, keeping me from doing other things–physical activity, creative endeavors, reading books, …etc. Tomorrow, I turn 56……having this neck surgery was a reminder that time is zooming and I need to get my money’s worth from each day…..I spent 2 hrs bagging leaves and studying my raised garden beds up close as I cleaned them. I always get rejuvinated being outside and wonder why I don’t do it daily–then I remember—google reader, pinterest, FB, podcasts….LOL-time to get back to physically exploring the world instead of mentally. Hope 2013 is the year you hope it will be.

  4. I’ve listened to you bitch about time for a couple of years now. I still can’t figure out why you don’t get more done in the time you have. Nobody makes demands on your time (except your cat) and you are free to use it as you wish. I think the question is, what is your wish? Maybe when you can answer that question, you can use your time in a more satisfying way. I hope you can find the answer before the 2013 year ends. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Peggy. I guess I’m just selfish. I read 50 books this year. I wish I had read 100. I wrote 100 essays, I wished I had written 200. I wish I had spent more time with you. I wish I had spent more time with all my friends. Yet, I wished I had more time to spend alone. I guess I’m never satisfied.

      But you have pinpointed my problem Peggy. I really wish I would work on a big project and accomplish something more satisfying than all my puttering around. I’d like to write a novel or nonfiction book, or research and write some longer essays that I could get published in a magazine. Dario knows me from Clarion West, and knows of my writing ambitions and dreams. Since we went to Clarion together he has published a memoir and edited and published several anthologies. I need to be more like Dario.

  5. One thing that I always regret is that I did have lots of spare time (or at least enough of it) but I wasted most, if not all of it. But, anyway, happy new year!

  6. “We do, doodily do,doodily do,
    “What we must, muddley must, muddley must,
    “Till we bust, bodily bust, bodily bust.

    I think Abraham Lincoln said that.

    Your blog has been on a downward self-pity spiral since you began Christmas time by announcing that you don’t believe in God

    1. I didn’t mean that post to sound so self-pitiable, but I guess it does. It sounds like I’m a lonely old man with a cat. I have a lot of friends and a lot of hobbies and keep very busy. I was just fascinated by my routines and time.

      I haven’t believed in God since I was a child, and even then I found it hard to believe. I pretended to believe because everyone talked about God but I never knew what they were talking about. When I was thirteen I stopped pretending.

  7. “Days flick by like I’m an accelerating time traveler.”

    Yup, that’s exactly how I feel, Jim, and I am retired. But I seem to have less time now than when I was working. Zip, zip, zip – the days go by so quickly!

    But I don’t regret “wasting” my spare time. Life isn’t wasted, even if you’re not doing anything particularly productive. Spending my time regretting my life, now that would be wasting it – unless I enjoyed that, of course. Certainly, writing blog posts isn’t wasting your life, if you enjoy it. (I do.)

    When I retired, my goal was to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. It’s been an easy resolution to keep. 🙂 So I don’t regret not reading more, since if I really wanted to read more, I’d do it. And the very fact that my days zip by must indicate that I’m enjoying them. Remember how slow time crawls when you’re not?

    Ideally, you should get to the end of your life and think, “Man, that went by fast!” After all, you really don’t want to end your life thinking, “At last, it’s finally over. I never thought the end would get here!” So if your life zooms by, you must be doing something right, don’t you think?

    1. These are very wise comments Bill. I regret not having more time, and I regret when I do waste time, because I do waste time. I spend a lot of time just daydreaming. A certain amount of daydreaming is fine, but I think I do it too much. It’s almost as if my fantasies are better than doing something real.

      I like you last comment, “At last, it’s finally over. I never thought the end would get here!” No, I won’t be like that. I’ll be dying and thinking, “I need more time, more time…”

    2. Love your perspective, agree that “if I wanted to read more, I would”and that life zips by because you are having fun. I am adopting that thought as I believe you have captured the truth about it. Thank you.

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