A single sentence, writes the author Gretchen Rubin, seems to resonate most deeply with people.
The days are long, but the years are short
People with children are acutely aware of this. The comedian John Bishop talks about walking along with his son, who reaches up to hold his hand.
One day – perhaps one that might not even be remembered – his son doesn’t reach up – he’s big enough to walk on his own.
That experience will never happen again.
Tim Urban, in his blog article, The Tail End, writes about how when we measure time in events rather than years or days, the impact is different.
Take holidays with children for example, if a child is 10, that might mean only 10 more family holidays before they want to do things with their own friends.
If someone is 30 and optimistically decides to leave to 90 – that’s 60 more winters they’ll experience.
If they build one snowman at least every winter – that’s 60 snowmen they will build.
Or – thinking of it another way, people on average might see their parents once grown up for around 10 days a year.
Let’s say they are lucky and live 20 more years – that’s 200 days we might spend with them.
Or around 7 months.
Or take health.
Edward Stanley said those who think they have not got time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to make time for illness.
Then, of course there are the friendships and relationships and ways in which we pass time time.
Water runs downhill – we’ll do the things that are easiest – see more of the people who live closest to us.
After that is comes down what we do with time – what we choose to do, how we choose to do it.
What is time, then?
According to Ray Cummings, the author of The man who mastered time, time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
And a maxim worth keeping in mind comes from the thirteenth century Archbishop of Canterbury, Edmund of Abingdon.
Study as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die tomorrow.