Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wishes and Words

I looked up at the calendar affixed to my office wall yesterday morning and realized that this time one month ago I was preparing for my all-day jaunt to and from Virginia, where I went to preserve for the purposes of trial the testimony of my client who is in a battle for his life with bladder cancer.  A month ago.  I know not whether it seems as if it was only yesterday that I hopped on and off four flights in one day or whether it seems to have happened far longer ago than that.  I suppose at times it feels like either.  Or perhaps both. 

That is the funny (in a maddening and not a "Ha Ha" sort of way) thing about time.  It is incredibly well-focused.  It moves in only one direction and it does so with an efficiency that borders on - and more than occasionally migrates across that border - murderous.  No give backs.  No mulligans.

Given that my professional life is tied to time (billable hours and all that jazz) I am not sure whether it is ironic or appropriate that within the past eighteen months or so running has become my principal recreational activity.  How do I relax and unwind from a profession in which time most certainly matters?  By participating in an activity in which, whether I am running alone through streets of my town at 3:00 a.m. or in a race with hundreds of other runners on a Saturday afternoon, I remain tied to time.  Time most certainly matters to me when I run, whether in a race or all alone.  I never run without my watch and while I run I check it frequently, probably stopping but a step or two short of distraction.

And for all of the time I spend worshipping at the temple of time I would have hoped that by this point in the game, I would have a better handle on it.  That I would make better use of it perhaps.  Nope.  While I occasionally like to kid myself that I do, such as at the end of a truly productive day at work when most of everything I wanted to accomplish is waving to me in the rear-view mirror, I have learned that more often than not I do not.  The reminders come in a million different forms such as occasions that "sneak" up on me or seeing someone for whom the image frozen in my mind's eye bears little resemblance to the flesh-and-blood model standing before me.  I have come to realize that most of my time is spent playing catch up,  trying to get back to even in one portion of my life where I have fallen off the pace a bit because of time devoted to trying to stay even in another area. 

I take some comfort - probably more than I should - in knowing that my problem is not mine alone.  Rather it is experienced - shared if you will - to varying degrees by everyone.  Time.  We spend most of our lives trying to make the best use we can out of it because we never know precisely when we are going to run out of it.  And we cannot bottle it....

....try as we might.

-AK

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