What to do with time?

by: Cat Cortes

Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts…

I struggle with time, which is only made worse by the unfiltered flood of information. I still have difficulty distinguishing which information is most important. Now that I’ve built a new path for myself, where I am forced to find worthy causes for my time, it has become a heavier thing. I want to spend it as easily, as I breathe, but I become too conscious that there are sixty seconds in a minute, and I then spend it in spurts – as if hyperventilating. I need time, but my body doesn’t quite know what to do with it. Do I pace the room? Do I let my mind wander? Do I sit to read? Do I search for videos of kittens on Youtube? Do I use time to talk to someone (on Facebook, Twitter or Gchat perhaps)?

We’d like to think that as long as one’s happy, one’s making good use of time. So if one spends his own happy time, making others happy too, the cycle of happiness then becomes self-perpetuating, expands and extends out to one’s social circles. This is the dream, that my friends and the people I surround myself with, live in a peaceful community untainted by greedy self-interest and modern-day loneliness. You’d like to be less conscious of time because you’re busy and you’re busy with meaningful preoccupations and people.

But the joke’s on me and the time I have chosen to spend, drawing and mailing postcards to friends, grows heavy with the silence that follows it. I write this with no bitterness or resentment whatsoever. I have been struggling to come to terms with the fact that this is the sign of our times. Social bonds are weak and people come and go in clicks (of mice) and with the push of a power button – we get lost in our own infinities. You don’t just have a group of people coming to terms with an infinite reality, but you have each and every person dealing with infinity in their own way.

That’s a lot of infinities to think about. With the convenience of self-reliance, it’s harder for us to reach out to friends to ask for inclusion. The multiplicity of infinity is excruciatingly isolating. Ben, an intelligent and talented friend of mine, who I look up to described Twitter as a room full of people shouting their thoughts at each other, fighting to be heard. It struck me because it leaves such a strong and lasting image of how we now relate to one another. In a way, this too describes how it can feel like being in a room full of people, anywhere.

Thrust with more time, I am learning again how best to spend it – how I’d like to spend it. I have a new appreciation for the details of daily living, of friendships, of talking to people, so that I can find a way to my dream community, where infinity is dealt with together. It doesn’t matter if opinions differ. In my dreams, we acknowledge that we are in the same pursuit of happiness, contributing to help each other’s confrontation with infinity. We don’t have to be holding hands, respecting each other and listening is good enough. Kind of like how it was on, Livejournal or anywhere on the Internet, prior to social networking websites or Web 2.0. We used to take the time to read stories that were greater than one-hundred and forty characters.

I know that I like spending my time asking hard questions, and being with people who like to help find an answer, so I throw this back at you: Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts?

I’d like to think we can still strive for that.

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