Measuring Time

time

Over the years, I have heard people say, I don’t do New Year resolutions, as if resolutions are an unfashionable item of clothing. Me? I have no grouse with New Year resolutions; they are not like mosquitoes singing in my ear that I need to slap away.

You know that Angus and Phil cartoon where the two dogs are having a conversation? The one where Angus asks, “What exactly is a New Year’s resolution?” and Phil replies, “It’s a ‘To Do’ list for the first week of January,”? It has me in stitches every New Year when I see it on my newsfeed on Facebook. What is it about New Year resolutions and un-stickability? Are we so spineless? Perhaps we resolve to do better without looking at why we failed the year before.

I have come to believe the saying that men fail because of broken focus. I do not think of my goals at the start of the year as resolutions. These goals, which span spirituality, character, vocation, and health, are work-in-progress, whose expiry date can spill over from a previous year because sometimes distractions pose as good intentions and obliterate my focus. Focus requires clear targets. Sustaining focus becomes easy when I strip down what I want to achieve to bullet points and then marry them to small chunks of time. Then, I can be a vigilante one day at a time

Mostly, I wake up without an alarm and not long after, I reach for time—a watch, phone, or clock. Even on days that I can do as I please and do not need to look at the clock; I still catch myself glancing out the window gauging time by the slant of the sun, degree of cloud cover, or pace of life on the streets, to make meaning of our world. In a sense, all of us are measuring time. But if we take casual cognizance of time, the days and weeks would blend into one another. It would be like defying gravity and just floating in space, fascinating at first and pointless in the end. 

A friend reminded me that in 2015, he counted the days. When he said it, I imagined him standing in front of a huge calendar, striking out the days written in black ink, with red crayon. I saw how fast he flipped the calendar from month to month, achieving little. He said that in contrast, in 2016, he would make the days count. I like his rhetoric. For me, this means before I lay my head on my pillow at night, I would have taken at least one step in the direction of my goals. Then 365 days later, I will measure time and come up full.

Whether we call our aspirations resolutions or goals, how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2016

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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37 thoughts on “Measuring Time

  1. Timi, I love your writing style. How you choose just the right word and never an overused one.
    But even more, I appreciate how your mind and heart are in sync, a beautiful marriage of clarity of thought and passion of feeling.

    After traveling in the fall and then having lots of family for Christmas, half a year raced by and left me breathless. As it turned out, literally. I came down with a respiratory virus on New Year’s Eve. The first two weeks of the New Year were simply lost. But the goodie for the baddie is that as I began to recuperate, but wasn’t well enough to get back into my usual schedule, motivation came to write about issues that are important to me and I had the time to work on them. Then we were snowed in all last week, so I have continued to write. There is a flow to life as we age, because we have less and less control over things, but if we go with it, instead of wasting energy fighting it, we can be surprisingly productive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the goodie for the baddie 🙂 How wonderful that you were able to mine gold from a situation that must have left you weak. I’m encouraged by your perspective as I see that we can ‘measure time’ instead of being frustrated by our circumstances.

      Thank you so much for your compliments. They spur me on. 🙂

      Happy writing Eileen. What treasure you’re storing for us your readers!

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  2. I like this post, Timi. You took the topic of New Year’s resolutions beyond the simple striving to achieve a list of goals and brought it around to the larger subject of finding meaning in our lives by the way we live each day. I particularly like your ending phrase: how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives. It’s something to think about. If we have our priorities straight, we’re more likely to use our days well. Some years I have made long lists of New Year’s resolutions. This year I’m just trying to do my best day by day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy New Year Nicki!

      It seems as though many people fail or struggle with New Year resolutions …

      I hope that at the end of each day, you are satisfied that you’ve maximized your time well. Our daily steps are taking us somewhere… a place where we want to be, I hope.
      Thanks 🙂

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  3. Love the way you weave words and ideas together and make such brilliant meaning. I particularly love this phrase, “Perhaps we resolve to do better without looking at why we failed the year before.” Keep writing and I’ll keep reading. Happy New Year, Timi!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy New Year! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

      Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterward carefully avoid. – John Keats

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How we spend our days does define how we define how we spend our lives: beautifully put! And I’ve never heard of that New Years cartoon joke but its so true.
    I dont do resolutions either… Dear Me, I sound so cliche….anyhoo, I dont but I have goals and targets which as you said can spill over from the year before…Note to self- setting time periods and focus helps!
    Happy New Year! ( :

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t really have true hard New Year’s Resolutions. I have instead, hopes for myself. I find hoping for myself, is more positive, wishful and kinder for myself, if I should fail not to get to the outcome. Resolution suggests an accomplishment, an achievement and something we can point to which sometimes that goal is dependent on other people giving us opportunities or having enough money or negotiating with a partner some more personal time.

    How about: I hope that I remain/become more healthy, mobile, creative and continue to learn from others, acknowledge other people’s positive contributions? It’s not a resolution….it’s a way of living.

    We are constantly talking about “achieving” something, an acquisition of that “thing”. Sometimes all we need to do, becoming the best of ourselves and just being ALIVE.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
      Hope is beautiful, but for me, if it isn’t anchored to something solid, it’s wishful thinking.
      I think that depending on how you look at it, goals are simply aspirations (hopes) married to a fixed time, which propel us to have an action plan.

      I don’t know that anything was ever ‘achieved’ with ‘hope’ alone.

      I’m big on gratitude! Truly grateful to be alive. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When it comes to my own personal goals, it’s never a hard shopping list or achievement list. My own health /fitness was never the result of a New Year’s resolution. It’s just living good habits. (Maybe that was an unintended goal that is now integrated.) I never begin the New Year with total cycling mileage or speed objective. I just want to continue cycling!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah.
        I totally agree with you at Timi, “hope is not a plan,” I read somewhere recently. It knocked me off balance as it was the first time it ever crossed my mind. Indeed, hope married with concrete plan and action us what make things work.
        Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Timi,

    @‘To Do’ list for the first week of January” XD

    I suppose that as a New Year draws near, we become overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of life, for another chance to right all wrongs. We punch the air, determined to do better.

    Towards the end of last year, I thought about all the things that I’d resolved to achieve during the year and separated them into those achieved and not achieved. Whilst munching on too much fried Christmas chicken, I thought about why six-pack abs didn’t sit in the achieved side of my mental list. Lol

    I accept that some goals are a work-in-progress that will spill-over into this year. Calendars are simply bookmakers, separating each set of 365 days. The air on 1 January did not smell differently from how it did on 31 December.

    Indeed, how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives. I read an article that advised that making daily plans is more effective than yearly resolutions. It makes sense; bite-sized focus seems less likely to be broken. 🙂

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    1. @ the air on 1 January did not smell differently from how it did on 31 December, well depending on where you live, there was more firework residue in the air on January 1! XD

      Failing to plan they say, is planning to fail. I guess we ‘plan’ differently and some strategies are more effective than others. I’m very interested in the reason(s) why I failed; why or how my focus was broken, so I can develop better strategies.

      Does chicken have anything to do with why you denied yourself 6-pack abs? 🙂
      Happy New Year Nedu!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Whether we call our aspirations resolutions or goals, how we spend our days becomes how we spend our lives.” Very true.

    I’m one of those non-resolution types. I prefer to reflect in my journal and privately think about what I want and how I want to feel. I do see the value though in publicly announcing goals, but for me I need time to digest. If I decide to share myself on my blog, it would have come after a while of serious rumination.

    Have I said Happy New Year yet? I better say it now then, just in case. Happy New Year. I hope it’s the best one yet. xxoo

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        1. Maybe the audience would be sympathetic. But then again, can an online audience truly hold you accountable? And if your goal isn’t publicly measurable, who would know? I guess it depends on the setting… Some bloggers I follow write a post about their publishing goals and don’t live up to them. I haven’t challenged them 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh I love focus! Last year I made a resolution to know my God better without distractions. Took it a day at a time and I’m better off for it.
    Somewhere in my focus to get that one resolution right came some spin-off effects. Topping my list is concluding a 4-weeks MOOC on Coursera– and dealing with sleepless nights while at it.

    Thanks for this reminder to maintain focus and live out our resolutions a day at a time.
    I have one this year again, and that’s to Live. Can’t wait for everything else that comes with it.

    Happy new year, Timi 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Happy New Year! (Just getting back from an unplanned break from the blogosphere). Your post reminds me of this quote “You only shoot what you aim at.” (I forget who said it.) I used to be big on intentions, which are great -but I find setting goals and then backtracking that with the actions to make the goals happen are what works best for me. Actions/goals puts me in the physical world of tasks as opposed to just in my intending, which I may/not follow up on. Actions with the goals hold me accountable.

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  10. for me its just December and another month proceeding it which is January, i give full priority to every task regardless of the time in season, and January or December doesn’t change that for me, but i agree quite okay that focus makes the difference…..the time to focus makes the individual….a dude told me last month that his new year resolution is to serve God and let go of worldly affairs with 2015, as laughable as that may seems, i just imagined the world ending(if at all its meant to) when he made that statement and imagined where he will go with the burden of sins he intend to drop with the year 2015……….people and different forms of intellectual subjugation. nice one TIMI

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    1. Hi Freeman, if we give full priority to every task regardless of the time in season, we will be consistent and to me that’s a very good thing.

      I’m glad that we have this calendar system- 12 months make up a year. It can be a useful way to measure progress.

      Like

  11. I made it very simple for myself this year; decide it’ll be one of Gratitude. Focus to suceed, fail, flunk, get distracted intentionally or not… aw just being alive and trying my best in all gratitude untill 365 days later… let me keep both fingers and toes crossed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You make a strong point, Timi. We’re good for the sprint not the marathon typically because we think we’ve got to get to a finish line as fast as possible. I’ve had to ask why we’re in such a hurry. Where are we trying to get? I make a resolution, for instance, to spend less time on social media. Why? Is it because it would sound good to tell someone that we succeeded? Or is this going to make us better people somehow? If I make a goal, it’s about character development, winning one day at a time, making each day count.

    Life is beautiful. And beauty is something you savor. There’s no rush. If you resolve to do something, think of it as a siege and remember to admire the contours of the ramparts even while either waiting out yourself or digging in against your desires.

    Happy New Year. And thanks for sticking around. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like this: Life is beautiful. And beauty is something you savor.
      I also like the point you made about the motives behind our resolutions. I’ve started asking some why questions …
      Happy New Year Odii, and thanks for sticking around too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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