Noosa, 5 September 2016
I arrived in Australia for the first time on 15 September 2009.
A week or so later, I went to the department of transportation to obtain my Australian driver’s license. A simple, standard question made me consider, for the first time, how long I was planning to stay in this country – “So, how long do you want this license for? 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 years?”
What was I doing here? What was the plan?
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting silence, I decided on 2 years. I thought that it wasn’t worth my money if things didn’t work out initially and I decided to leave within the first year or so. When it came the time to repeat this experience in 2011, there was no hesitation and I renewed my license for the following 5 years.
The (not so funny) thing is that it seems like it was yesterday I did it, but the fact is I was still childless and in my twenties. Yesterday, I was renewing my license for the second time. The next time I am to do it, I’ll be a couple months short of turning 40.
Forty!! I still remember yearning for 18 when I was 10 and it being in a so distant future that cars would be flying by then and there wouldn’t be hunger nor war in the world. Time is awkward, or at least my perception of it which has been changing since remembrance.
I reminisce about a time when one year was an eternity and I could proudly use the fingers in both hands, to show for how long I had been around. Today, a year feels like a season and I wonder how long it will take for a year to feel like a month or a week.
I wish to feel my days as years. Wake up every morning and know that what I am to do, is the best thing I can possibly be doing. I want to take pride and pleasure in all daily undertakings. Because washing the dishes, cleaning the toilet, heading to work and changing diapers are indeed pleasant chores. They’re actually what I choose them to be – I get to label them. I want to go to bed every night with a feeling of accomplishment and realise what a great year that was. I wish to feel that my dear and precious time has not been wasted.
When I turn forty (in that far, far away future), I know we won’t have cars flying in our skies and that there will still be an enemy somewhere in need of some shooting and bombing. But when I turn forty, hundreds of years from now, I am confident I will be able to say that I have lived my life fully and aware.
Since I last renewed my license, I became a father to two beautiful girls. Those are, in itself, unique milestones and the experiences I had as a consequence, incomparable. Nevertheless, I still feel that I have greatly wasted my time. I was constantly living in the future, with my mind on the weekend or the next holiday and any particular sense of enjoyment on my ‘9 to 5’ was ephemeral and undistinguishable.
It wasn’t a full waste, not even close. But complaining about and resenting my daily obligations instead of willingly embracing them, leaves me thinking that it could have been so much more. Anyway, that’s all done and dusted and there’s no time like NOW. Regret is probably the most useless of feelings and there’s really no point in ruminating on the past.
Today we’re still driving environment unfriendly vehicles on roads! War, hunger and disease are not going to become extinct anytime soon. In fact, the only thing that has changed since I was 10, is me. Me alone, and my perception of time (and its use) along the way.
I have learned that any betterment can only come from me and I can only evolve following a very simple sequence: start with my thoughts; follow up with my deeds; turn them into habits; and in the end it will form part of my character. I do hope, however, to be such an example that I’ll sow the seeds of change in others.
A definition of ‘realisation’ is when one’s understanding of something deepens to a point that makes one change one’s behaviours. I am now sure that time is the most precious resource I have and I want to make the most of it. I truly am happy to have come to this realisation that has prompted me to the practice of awareness in every possible moment.
Time is now one of my values. Not being immortal, it is way too precious for not being one.
I am curious to see how I will have used my time the next time I am to renew my license. I’m rather confident I won’t consider it to have been wasted.
How about you? What have you been up to, in the last 5 years?