Coach’s challenge for 9/13/10 “Time”

Good day, team,

As I sat gazing out the window this morning, coffee in hand, I noticed the twins who live across the street heading out for their first day of school. When we moved into this house seven years ago, these girls were toddlers. Now, here they were, looking so grown up, one dressed in a cute plaid skirt, knee highs and sneakers (do we still call them that?), the other in jeans, bright pink boots and a jacket that had a big “C” sewn on the back. (The “C” stands for Cordelia, and her twin’s name is Hortense. Unusual names, but, I think, very distinguished!) How happy and hopeful they looked as they moved forward toward another year of experiences, friends, learning and activities!

What struck me most as they passed by my window was the passage of time, which is the subject of this week’s challenge. Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” I pondered this quote as I watched the twins walk to the bus on the corner. In seven years, these two have grown up to be young girls; where have I been all of this time?

I’ve noticed that people who raise children tend to have a better sense of the passage of time than people who don’t. Children change so fast and so drastically, from week to week when they’re infants, from month to month when they’re toddlers, from year to year in their first decade. In contrast, the passage of 10 years for someone without children may seem to be a time when he or she doesn’t seem to change very much. But growing children demand very different kinds of attention and care as each year goes by, and parents are continually amazed at how quickly they grow in such a short time.

The value of this observation for me is to see how much I’ve changed over the years and to not take it for granted. One of the blind spots in most human beings is our inability to observe ourselves. We look in the mirror and see the same person, day after day, year after year. Often it isn’t until you notice the first grey hairs, or see wrinkles that don’t go away, or take twice as long to heal from a cold, that you begin to realize you’re actually getting older! With this realization, there’s often the accompanying thought: “What have I done with my life? Have I been wasting my time? What happened to the last 10 years? They went by in a blink!”

This week, take a good, long look at yourself and see how you’ve changed. Perhaps age has brought you more understanding, or a more even-tempered disposition, or some patience you didn’t have a few years back. Maybe you’re in a completely different job or family situation or residence than you were five years ago. How have you adapted to these changes over the years? I think it takes consistent effort and a positive attitude to make our way though this life with a small bit of success and happiness as the result. Taking all that for granted doesn’t give us the opportunity to clearly see what we have become.

We give value to the time we have by using it wisely, and we also give value to ourselves. I like to think of it as putting gold coins in jars. How many gold coins have I put in the family jar today? Or the job jar? Or the exercise jar? Or the television jar? Do I spend my time (my gold coins) wisely, or does time spend me? This week, I’m resolved to spend my time more wisely and not take the benefits of that good use for granted. George Matthew Adams wrote, “We cannot waste time. We can only waste ourselves.” See where your gold coins are spent this week and by week’s end, enjoy the benefits of your investment.

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching (503) 296-9249

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