A Lesson About Time in the Age of COVID-19

picture of hanging pocket watches

This post is dedicated to the health care workers who are risking their lives to save others from the novel coronavirus.

I am healthy. My family members are healthy. And I am employed. These are the three most important things right now as deaths peak from COVID-19 in the New York tri-state area this week. As millions of people around the world lose their health, their loved ones, and their jobs, words cannot express how fortunate I feel to be spared. My prayers go out to everyone who is suffering, and to the health care workers who are on the frontlines of battling the virus.

As a non-essential employee, I have been working from home in a makeshift office in my dining room for the past month. With the cancellation of a previously scheduled trip in May looming, I decided to use my vacation time for a staycation this Holy Week. While I recognize this is a luxury, I figured taking a few days off would be a nice change of pace and allow me to complete house projects as I safely social distance at home. Little did I know that early into my staycation I would learn a valuable lesson about time.

Before I dove into house projects, I read The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. In the novel, Albom tells a fictional story of Father Time. The man who invented the first clock is punished by God for trying to keep track of time, and he is given an eternal sentence of listening to people’s pleas for more of it. Eventually, God offers Father Time his destiny in exchange for teaching two individuals that time is a precious gift.

This book made me reflect on how my life revolves around time.

How long will my commute be today?

Will I get to a meeting on time?

When will I get home?

I can’t wait for the day to be over.

I can’t wait for the weekend.

When will the week end?

The week flew by.

The weekend flew by.

The year flew by.

The decade flew by.

Times flies.

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

I wish I had more time.

I wish I had more time.

As Albom beautifully writes:

“Birds are not late. A dog does not check its watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this, man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out.”

COVID-19 will forever change humanity. One positive lesson we can take with us is that time is a precious gift. Let’s stop wishing to turn back time, or to rush time, or for more time.

In the words of Albom:

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping.”

Let’s enjoy life’s moments without a fear of time running out. The less we focus on time, the more we will appreciate life on Earth.

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