“Excuse me, do you have the right time?” That’s one of my favourite questions. Someone is always sure to ask me on my way to work. That, and directions to the nearest tube station. I don’t know. I haven’t got a watch. I just look at my mobile phone. 4.45pm, 2.15pm. 10.00am? There’s lots of time to choose from. Keeping time is cruical. We don’t want to be late. Late for work, a dental appointment, our kid’s school play…you could quite easily say that time means everything. There is not an unlimited amount of time in the world that is given to us.
Time is life itself I suppose and it is incredibly precious. I am always very conscious of time and it isn’t just because I’m getting older. My training as a flautist at university years ago brought the concept of keeping time into great importance…and I never wanted to keep the beat. I always wanted to wander and improvise! Not much has changed for me really. I still love wandering along my own way. Clocks dominate our lives. Every second, every moment, every hour, every day. Late, early, on time. When is the right time?
Life seldom goes to plan. We plan so much in the hope that things actually do go to plan! With schedules, intense oganisation and five year plans, ‘when I’m 30, I need to be in this position, I need to have my first child, I need to be placing a deposit on a property’. I used to get so worked up about having a plan until I realised that very little ever goes to plan.
In fact, if I was too rigid about being organised, I would miss some of the wonderful opportunities that ended up changing my life. Serendipity can’t work its magic otherwise. Of course, planning is a good thing. We’ve got to make a path through life somehow that makes some kind of sense to us. It’s always good to keep a map in the rucksack….
It is a bit scary I admit to go through life and not feel as though you know what you’re doing. My mid twenties were some of the most confusing and lonely times in my life. I didn’t have a clue where I was going or what I really wanted. What made these feelings worse was thinking that everyone else knew who they were and what they were doing.
I was lost in comparison with others. The truth is, nobody can ever really know exactly what is come. It was very unsettling at the time I remember. I felt like some kind of crazy woman who pretended her life as a freeelance musician and teacher was well planned.
I couldn’t even plan if I was going to be able to pay rent next month and eat. Time back then, seemed like it was being wasted! There is something very reassuring about having time structured to the marching beat of intense organisation and planning.
Looking back, I feel that all my experiences were worthwhile because it enriched my life somehow. I met great people I would not have met otherwise and I had experiences I would not have imagined possible. Even though there were times I felt my life was a chaotic mess, there was still something important to be gained from that time spent ‘lost’ if you will.
If we do not allow ourselves to be lost for a while, we can’t ever find the way. Some of the most glorious moments on life’s journey is discovering a path you would not have travelled if you had not allowed yourself to drift for a while.
Quite simply, the right time is right now. Just make the most of every moment that is given to and don’t stress about finding the path. I don’t think the path can be be found really. The path will take you when you start walking…
© Christina McDonald 2014