The Greek language denotes two distinct principles of time, Chronos (not the Klingon home world) and Kairos. The former refers to numeric, or chronological, time. The latter, literally "the right or opportune moment", relates specifically to metaphysical or divine time. In theology, Kairos is qualitative, as opposed to quantitative. Qualitative denotes events or things that can be seen but not measured, a color or a feeling, the level of beauty seen by one’s eyes (the beauty is in the eyes of the beholder), smells, tastes, while Quantatative events can be measured, enumerated and duplicated.
The measurement of time and how time is used can be both Chronos and Kairos with both having a substantive effect on how we view and manage time. “A watched pot never boils” giving us an indication that time is subjective to mental stress and anticipation. Einstein’s relativity suggests that time and space should be considered together and in relation to each other. Watching a clock makes time move less rapidly, but we all know that Chronos time is not subject to interpretation, a minute is a minute but the mind can and often does modify our perception of time giving us the opinion of differences in time allocations, “time passes quickly when you’re having fun”; maybe it really does?
As time is counted in days and weeks, months and years many try to salvage time lost by creating promises to better themselves. These goals, these resolutions attempt to alter our past perceptions and mistakes by altering our hopes for the future. Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions and the one most failed. The time lost during the past year overeating, not exercising, indulging in unhealthful activities falls within the category of Kairos time, it’s all subjective but ooh so real to those who have wasted the given opportunities that time allowed.
Most look forward to the New Year as a new beginning, a time to start over, remove bad habits and improve our lives. We set goals and with a fervor and passion step heavily onto the treadmills of life pushing hard against the ingrained weights and deviations of our own desires, trying with all our might to forestall the bad with the new found idea of good, knowing that time is our enemy, our nemesis. Most will fall, crawling on bended knee, asking forgiveness for even trying, inclined to admit our failures but realizing our mistake was in thinking we could control time and overcome what we had become.
Time however is not the problem; time is not our enemy. Time is only a level of measurement, a method of gauging one moment from the next, of discerning one event from another. Time is a gift. In conjunction with our conscience time allows everyone the ability to restart, rebuild, redo or undo what was done, rethink what was thought, change, completely change who and what we are into what we think we want to be. Time gives to us the perception that all is possible and that even though time was wasted in the past it is a forever potential, an eternal continuum of never ending possibilities.
Each New Year we look inward at what we’ve become and gauge our development against the societal measures that define acceptability and success and rethink our path, reload our expectation and revise our Kairos within the preset Chronos in order to achieve the impossible.
Knowing how to use time is perhaps the most difficult of all processes. With a perceived abundance of time, an abundance that dwindles as our life’s time is reduced by age or circumstance, leading us to make drastic choices based on unrealistic demands on our own vision of what we wished would be. Like a losing gambler at a high stakes game we double down, taking unnecessary risks to overcome the self-induced deficits imposed by a life time of regret. Resolutions very rarely succeed when desperate efforts supersede time proven methods of change.
The beauty of time is that it’s never too late to change. We may not have enough time to complete the transformation from Ogre to Prince but we do have the time to start. We always have the time to take the right step, change direction and move in the right direction. Time allows us the opportunity to alter our destiny and our perception of any given period, but with that opportunity comes the responsibility to continue the process.
You will never be given the same time again, once time is used it’s gone but time continues to give each of us an unlimited array of possibilities. Choose wisely the choices given by time and each and every choice will result in a daily chance for continuous change, change is good but “time is of the essence”.