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Time

Text by: Jacque Crosswell Watene

I've been on a calendar, but I've never been on time.
-Marilyn Monroe
As I write this, I can hear the steady rhythm of the clocks ticking on my wall. My largest clock boasts the correct time, sternly pointing its hands to the exact hours and minutes that rule each event - great or small - in my life. This is the clock I worriedly glance at all morning long, as I frantically rush the children from one morning activity to another; "Hurry! We have five minutes 'til we must get out the door or we'll be late. Again!!" This is the clock that gazes smugly down upon me, as I sneak one last look to see if three minutes is enough time to make my appointment that is realistically a fifteen minute drive away. (Of course it isn't enough time, but being ten minutes late isn't as bad as being an hour late, right?) And this is the clock that lets me know that peace and quiet are just around the bend, because I only have thirty minutes until the children's bedtime. (Some days those are the longest thirty minutes of my life.)

It seems I am ruled by this thing called time. Deadlines to keep (or not keep). Appointments to rush to. School. Piano practice. Homework to turn in by Wednesday. The list goes on…

Next to this clock is a quote by Albert Einstein I am hoping will truly sink in to my psyche someday: "The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." This makes the idea of living by the rules of "time" less daunting than it seems. Maybe that's true - the only reason for time is so I don't have to type an article, read a book to my 3-year-old, pick up my 13-year-old from football practice, drop off my 15-year-old at piano practice, help my five-year-old with homework, return important phone calls, go on a date with my husband, offer a sympathetic ear to a friend, and make dinner all at the same time. (Although, come to think of it, it sure does feel like I am trying to do all those things at once sometimes!) The question remains: How do I fit each little task, every subtle nuance, into its own tidy little time slot, so I don't find myself trying to "beat time" at its own game day after day? Well, friends, I honestly don't know. I am hoping this issue of Polite Society Magazine will offer me (and you, of course) some great insight on the matter. We have a few amateur-experts discussing Time and its complexities, and we are excited they are lending their insights to Polite Society! We are delving right into the subject of Time in this issue; how it affects us, what it is, how we can make the most of what we have of it while on this planet, and even what Albert Einstein thought of it as a whole.

Just for giggles, I have to admit to you that alongside the big, ominous, important clock that ticks its seconds away on my wall, I have four other clocks of various sizes, all keeping strange times. No, they aren't organized into "Paris Time", "Eastern Standard Time", "London Time", "Australia Time", etc., but rather, each clock is allowed to tick as it pleases; my personal ode to Mr. Einstein and his idea that time is really just an illusion. These clocks are my personal reminder that someday, life will slow down. I will have the personal time I desire to read, meditate, contemplate, and just "be". And while I am just "being", I am certain there will be moments when I will miss the business of being a young mother, an aspiring career woman, and an artist. But for now, for this moment in time, I must learn to find and accept the gift offered by each steady tick of the clock.