The Moving Finger

In “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”

The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

In one of the blogs I’m following (sorry, I can’t remember which one now), a link led to another link and another, where I found what seemed to be a good idea:
The blogger suggested, as an aid to being mindful about the present, and as a deterrent to daydreaming too much about the future, that we should work out the projected date of our death (using actuarial tables), then figure out how many years, months, days etc we have left.  A little program called TimeLeft can be downloaded free, which then works out how much time you have left and displays a countdown on your desktop.  The idea is that seeing the time disappearing before your eyes will make you more conscious of how you use the time right now.

In my case, this has been an abysmal failure.  Having worked out that I have about 29 years of life left in me, my initial response was “that’s ages!”.  I set the countdown to show me the years, months, days etc, but that number 29 at the beginning each day made me feel that time was standing still.

So I changed it to show the number of days, hours and minutes.  It started at 10617 days, and now it’s reading 10604 days.  It still seems to crawl along, even when those individual days are packed with lists of activities that I don’t have time to complete.  The large number at the front makes me feel that I will indeed almost live forever – it might as well be infinity!

My instinct is to delete the damn thing and get on with my life, but I’m intrigued by the subjective nature of time.

On one hand, the weeks seem to fly by.  Has another week passed, and I haven’t decorated the bathroom / put the kitchen curtains up / paid the bills / sorted out my wardrobe?  Is it really March already, when it seems only yesterday that we were recovering from Christmas?  If I’m not careful I’ll miss the Springtime again – it will slip past when I’m looking the other way.

But on the other hand, time seems endless (silly thing to say, of course it is), always the same, nothing ever changing, seasons following seasons, years following years.  I feel I’ve been here forever, in this house, in this village (27 years), in this job (6 years), and there’s nothing new in the world.

But back to the point of TimeLeft.  I’m going to try another experiment and set it to count upwards (if it will do that) so that I can see how much time has passed.  Maybe I’ll make it start today, or perhaps from some other point – from my 50th birthday; or from the start of this year; or perhaps going back to when I started my current job.
I wonder if a visual representation might work? A pie chart perhaps, showing the slice gone and the slice left.

I will return to this.

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