Why do we wish time away?

Why do we wish time away?


As you get older you get more aware and panicky about time going too quickly –at least I do. And with the ever diminishing time I begin to regret all the time I wished away, wishing it was 5pm, Friday night, summer, the next holiday…great long swathes of time wished away.

I heard a radio advert recently that made me wonder if we learn to wish our time away from a young age. Does our culture teach us to relish some days more than others? Some seasons more than others? The advert was for a children’s theme park. At first the announcer says – ‘So it’s back to school’, and you hear all these ‘boos’ in the background. ‘But don’t worry’, he continues, ‘Its half term soon’, followed by lots of cheers in the background. Do we learn as children to wish away our days? Do the media play on this in their determination to make us wish in September that it was already Christmas? Or wish in January that it’s nearly Summer?

I found an intriguing book by Michael Foley ‘Embracing the ordinary: Lessons from the Champions of Everyday Life.’ He defines Tuesdays as a forgotten day because of the way we give more value and significance to every other day. Monday is defined by the horror of going back to work, Wednesday is midweek, Thursday charged with the excitement of the weekend and Friday the start of the weekend. Unfortunately, by marking the week as we do just lends itself to wishing away time until at least the mid-week hump of Wednesday.

So how can we stop the wishing? I am lready worried about the time I do have; I can’t waste any more by nonchalantly wishing it by. But it’s so easy to dislike Mondays, look forward to weekends and live blindly through the middle days. The ‘seize the day’ attitude and ‘live in the moment’ is great, but for me it just doesn’t seem realistic to feel like that all the time. There must be a middle ground of enjoying and engaging with the everyday within the remit of lifes ups and downs.

Of course, as with all things in life time is how you perceive it. There are days and moments when time is dragging and moments when you wake up and think how did it suddenly become 2021? Importantly there are times when life is difficult and one of the things that can keep you going is to think ahead to better times when the bad ones have passed – so our minds can play a good role in looking ahead to help us get through the present.

I don’t have any answers, but if you are constantly wishing time away then clearly something needs to shift – and sitting with the present might be one place to start.

Ps – this was written pre Covid19 – I expect many of us are now wishing more time away than ever before and maybe that’s ok and a survival tactic, we all want to get back to those better times quickly.