On being time poor

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day,” I sighed, before flopping down on the sofa to waste the last hour or so before bed on my Twitter feed. It’s about all I can manage after a day spent cramming in a school run, a commute through heavy Dubai traffic, eight hours of work, dinner and the bedtime shenanigans.

When I watch my children, the thing that really strikes me is they have all.the.time.in.the.world. It’s just not an issue; time is laid out ahead of them like the toilet roll in the Andrex puppy-dog advert – it might undulate and unravel in bursts, but the hours in their day, the days in their week, and the months in their year, are long, seemingly never-ending stretches of glorious time.

At school drop-off, with just minutes to go before the classroom doors slide shut, my younger son can sit rooted to his seat in an indignant protest at me trying to rush him out of the car. He has time to dwardle on the walk in – if there were roses, I’m sure he’d stop to smell them.

Stop the clock! Time thief, be gone
Stop the clock! Time thief, be gone

At the other end of the day, when I have to wrestle homework out of them, the time gods smile on their scowly sweet faces again, and bestow bonus minutes on them. My older son will lose the pencil, break the pencil, need the toilet, suddenly become parched with thirst, and, the one that really irks me, just need five more minutes to finish watching something before starting.

To say they don’t have a sense of urgency is an understatement.

Except time is deceptive. I know that, because somewhere along the way – I think starting in your 20s – time suddenly seems to speed up. So that, by the time you reach your 40s, it’s picked up such a pace that life starts passing, literally, in a blur. I can even find myself coming out in a cold sweat, worried that it’ll suddenly fast-forward another decade in the blink of an eye. (Like it did in my 30s – the ‘lost’ decade of pregnancies, sleepless nights, bottles and nappies.)

“One day,” my mother warned the time-rich, whinging 8-year-old me, “you’ll wish you could be bored again,” she said, sagely. And, you know what, she was right.

Enjoy it kids, before the time thief catches up with you too.