Okay, I’ve got to come clean on this one, I’m actually starting it a little bit early (like last night), but it is one that I could feel brewing that needed a little more time to distill and is important enough that I capture it and not let it slip by.
What I’m thankful for today is what I consider the sixth sense. Forget ESP, what I’m talking about is something more tangible. It’s a real sensation that is closely tied to other senses, so much so that I have a tough time describing it without typing words like ‘see’ and ‘feel’. The sixth sense I’m thankful for today is the awareness of time.
Maybe it’s just old age setting in and I’ll have some friends and family older than me share the truth that I’m merely getting old. Maybe it’s some crazy form of enlightenment form being thankful for so many days. Who knows, maybe I’m just delusional… that’s what the voices in my head tell me!
Over the past few days there’ve been many moments in which I’ve been acutely aware of the passing of time. From talking about how quickly time flies by with my dad to touching a tree that’s over a century old to having the same conversation I’ve had with adults when I was a kid, so many moments that made me pause and feel time flowing by.
So many of the moments of my life (all 21.2 million of them – seriously, I’ve lived over 21 MILLION minutes) go by without any awareness of time going by. I’m either in the moment or ignorant of the moment. It passes by and is gone, never to be lived again.
In many cases I am thankful for this fact. While sitting on the porch overlooking the Pacific ocean with Becky and feeling the sea breeze blowing lightly across my face I didn’t want to feel a moment go by, I wanted to stay in that moment as long as I possibly could. I didn’t feel time because I chose not to.
There are so many other times that time goes by without my notice out of sheer ignorance. I’m “too busy” with things like my phone, the news, social media, or just doing nothing. In these times I miss the passing of time because I’m not being grateful for the moment like I should be.
Other times, in between the other two extremes, I swear I can pause, shut off my normal five senses and just sense time going by. The crazy thing is that it comes through the other senses but is felt in my soul as opposed to any physical part of my body. I listen closely and hear the sound of leaves rustling and the subtle whistling of the wind and I can sense time moving by. Sitting by the ocean I can feel time passing with the crash of each wave on the shore. Standing by Wind Cave I remember hearing the Earth “breathe” and had a similar feeling. Hiking near Devil’s Lake I remember seeing roots pushing through the paved trail and I could see time when I looked closely at it. In all of those times and many others I feel acutely aware of time passing and it brings me peace.
Time passing is neither good nor bad, it just is and will continue to be. Anything I do won’t change it, there is no way for me to exercise some level of control over it. I’m pretty sure that’s where the sense of peace comes in… It gives me perspective to see my place in the universal pecking order… I’m tiny! It’s similar to the feeling of being in the mountains and just looking up and realizing that the entirety of my life is just a flash of lightning in theirs.
So why the sense of calm and piece when I feel that small? It reminds me that I only have so much time, I’d better get off of my ass and use it in the right way. Time will keep going and pass me by without so much as a care of how I’m using it. Knowing that I need to remember that it’s up to me to get the most out of the time I have. When I’m in touch with that sixth sense and am aware of time passing I seem to make better decisions on how I use the most precious resource I have. When I lose that sense I can quickly find myself slipping into the old habits of staring at my phone, vegging on the couch, and just doing nothing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that as long as that is what I choose to do, but the issue is that when I lose track of that sense I let time happen to me instead of me asserting myself.
While I haven’t made perfect use of the time I’ve had so far today I’ve at least made more good decisions on how to spend my time, I’ve been more intentional with my actions. When I have days like this I can feel my happiness increase… and the root cause of this happiness is the awareness of time passing.