Making the Most of Lifetime Memories
Ten years can fly by like a fog that drifts across the lake before dawn. Where does all that time go? Well, for the thinkers out there, a year is 8,760 hours. And when you take away time for sleep, which on average is 8 hours per evening, you are left with 5,840 hours. Oh, wait, you have to work! LOL Take away another 2,080 for a 40 hour work week and now we're left with 3,760 hours of time to play with. Three thousand, seven hundred sixty hours. That's a lot of free time.
When I was little, I used to feel like the minutes couldn't go by fast enough. I would watch the clock on the wall in Social Studies class just waiting for the bell to ring and those seconds were like the slowest seconds of my life, just creeping along like a turtle making its way through mud.
We are trained at an early age that time keeps us in line, keeps us organized, keeps us earning a dollar - all these things revolve around time. "Time is money" is another way that we disrespect time. Think of all the ways we "manage" our time. And what that means for our life. What if we didn't do any of that? What if we got up whenever we wanted? For me, that's about 5:55 in the morning. I don't know why. It's just when I wake up. Maybe for someone else, it's 10:30 ? Again, we all have natural rhythms that are effected by our habits and how we structure our day.
Time keeps rolling on no matter what we do. It is the one constant that we have no control over what so ever. I love that about time. We can count on the fact that eventually, this day will be over with and another one will happen tomorrow. When you think about it, there is a level of security in the natural cycle of day and night.
During our time living on an island with two young children, we started to feel a different way of being, a different way of living that has changed the way we look at time for the better. Some call it "island time" and others say there actually isn't any time on an island, things just happen when they happen.
My first experience with island time was while I was waiting for my son to come off the ferry from his day of being at school on the main island. Usually, the boat was scheduled to arrive around 4 pm and then we would drive over the mountain to catch another ferry that finally landed us on our island for the evening. I arrived at 3:45 pm sharp just in case the ferry arrived early. I would check off each stop in my mind as I looked at my watch. School let out at 3 pm, the kids got picked up by a taxi by 3: 15 and were on the big ferry by 3:30 pm. As I waited, I walked the beach in bare feet and listened to the chatter of the tourists that were siting at the little rum bar that was next to the docks. The water in the BVI is the color of jewels and could be the best distraction. It is the most amazing blue. I enjoyed watching the waves slowly lap onto the beach. The hypnotizing waves would work their magic for a few minutes. Every once in awhile, a boat would cruise by. I checked my watch (I wore one back then) every five minutes, sometimes every two minutes. I clearly remember pacing up and down the beach. I decided to call my mom and check in with her, just trying to kill some time (what a phrase). I kept looking off into the horizon for the large ferry. Once you saw it, there would be about 20 minutes before it got to our island. It was big enough for over 100 people to ride. It is now 4:02 pm and no sight of a ferry. I start looking around for other parents who I might recognize that would be waiting for their children, but no one was there. Then I wonder if the school sent me an email, maybe telling me something changed in their schedule. Was there an afterschool program I forgot about today? It occurred to me that this has nothing to do with the school. This is the ferry company. Where the hell is this boat that has my child on it!
It is now 4:15 pm, and still no ferry in sight. I'm seriously beginning to worry. I walk up to the dock to see if I can find anyone who works for the ferry, and you guessed it, no one. At this point, my American mind has lost it's reasoning ability and I'm thinking the boat capsized near the main island and my son has drowned. My mind is racing and my body walks in tandem with it up and down the beach. It is now 4:30... a full 30 minutes late. How can this be? It just doesn't happen back home. No bus, ferry, train, or any public transportation is 30 minutes late unless something very bad has happened.
And then I see it... I see the boat! It is far away, but still on it's way to me, with my son hopefully aboard, and not sinking to the bottom of the ocean. For a second, I catch my breath and let out this huge sigh. I cannot imagine what would hold up the ferry and make it so late. I now realize, it's going to take another twenty minutes before the darn boat arrives to deliver my child. So, I must wait. At this point twenty minutes felt like an eternity. I could have sat down and taken the time to plant my ass in the sand and just breathe, but I didn't. I walked along the shore, burning up so much energy. Why? Because I was a slave to time. I had no idea that I could slow down in order to speed up the time. Have you ever noticed that about time?
When you are in the moment - and I mean having fun, totally present and inside every single moment, the time goes by so fast. Ahh the lessons I needed to learn back then. God planted me on an island where I would learn to slow down, take it all in and soak in those moments.
When the ferry finally arrived, I ran up to one of the dock hands and asked him why the boat wasn't on time. He wrapped the rope around the dock slowly and paused before he answered. With a big smile, he responded, "The ferry runs on island time, ma'am." The kindness in his eyes really didn't warrant a response back. I just smiled and said, "thank you for the reminder." Two seconds later, my son and all his classmates stepped onto the dock laughing and giggling about the day. They were happy to be back on our island and ready to eat dinner. I couldn't help but laugh at myself that day. All that time was gone. I could have had a completely different perspective that afternoon. I could have enjoyed my island time. I made a pact with myself, that as long as I lived on this island, I would start living on island time as well.
Making the most of our memories on that island became so much more enjoyable for all of us when we completely lost sense of "time." It is one of those lessons I will always remember about that time in my life. I hope everyone gets a chance to bend time and stretch out the moments so that life flies by quickly... That's when you know you're living a full life!