Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Friday, May 05, 2006

Passing Time

In French, when you say you spend time with someone, you use the verb ‘’passer’’ (passer le temps). In Spanish, it’s ‘’pasar’’ (pasar el tiempo). In Italian, it’s ‘’passare’’ (passare il tempo).

Only the Americans view time as money and say ‘’spend time’’, the way you ‘’spend money’’, laughed my Italian teacher recently when he corrected me. I had used the word ‘’spendere’’ (to spend) when writing about ‘’spending time with nature’’ in my essay.

I would add – the money-minded Chinese also view time as money – they ‘’hua shi jian’’ (spend time).

How true. People say, ‘’time is money’’. I say, time is ‘’life’’. So if you spend time the way you spend money, there is an implicit suggestion that you can ‘’earn’’ back the time the way you earn money by, say, working more. But time, once passed, is like life. You can never earn any of it back.

If I were to ‘’pass’’ an hour with you, I am giving you one hour of my life. Are you worth one hour of my life? Is what you are doing now worth 20 minutes, an hour, three hours, of your life? If you were at your death bed, would you wish that you had not ‘’wasted’’ one hour recently with some inane activity and instead ‘’passed’’ it meaningfully with your loved one instead?

The priceless-ness of time has hit home hard this week. I have had to waste many precious hours of my life going round in inefficient circles in unfruitful discussions with people I will not miss if I were at my deathbed.

All in the name of work, and maybe politics, power and ego-boosting.

Yes, friends are amazed how I can ‘’do so many things’’ with ‘’so little time’’.

I do have the answer: I ‘’pass’’ my time wisely, efficiently, and I choose the right battle to fight. I don’t spend or waste it (if I can help it!) with empty talk.

I hope you will pass some good time this weekend.


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