“Mom, can you explain to Dad what I’m talking about?”
My daughter stood in my bedroom door looking pressed and frustrated.
I looked up. “Well, what is it, exactly, that you are talking about?” I asked her.
She gave me an exaggerated sigh. “Why I have to take time to get ready in the morning. Dad keeps giving me a hard time for taking so long.”
Having once been a 12 ½ year old girl, myself, and remembering the time when my only focus was on what outfit I was going to wear and how that needed to look, I did understand where she was coming from.
I looked at her with compassion. “You and Dad are viewing time differently,“ I said, simply.
“He’s on Newtonian time and you’re operating on Einstein time.”
I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine the look I got.
“Mom, it’s 6am. My brain isn’t awake enough to understand where you are going with this.” She looked at me painfully.
I laughed. “Come on, let’s go in your room so you can keep getting ready, and I’ll explain.”
She rolled her eyes and followed me across the hall.
“The world we live in conditions us to the concept of Newtonian time. It takes its name from the physicist, Sir Isaac Newton. He taught a model of time that was linear, meaning time happens in a series of events and has a beginning and end. It says that time is absolute and finite, and not at the whim of personal perception.”
“Okay, I think I get that,” my daughter said as she pulled her sweater over her head.
“Einstein time is different,” I continued.
My daughter interrupted. “Oh, we studied Einstein! He was also a physicist and came up with the theory of relativity, right?!”
“Right,” I said. “That’s Einstein time. It basically says that time is relative or, in other words, it is measured not as an absolute that never changes, but rather, as in relationship to other things, and therefore, changes depending on its relationship with those things. Another way of thinking about it is with Einstein time, time is what we, individually, perceive it to be.”
My daughter nodded. “I get it, but how does that help me explain to Dad where I’m coming from?”
“With Newtonian time, the key word is ‘HAVE.’ We have time. Either enough, too much or not enough. The feeling we get, here, is that what dictates time is outside of ourselves, and, therefore, we don’t, ultimately, have control of it. It’s a limited resource to which we are a slave.”
“That’s lack mentality, right, Mom?!” my daughter said excitedly.
“It is,” I replied, smiling. “We measure time through a lens of fleetingness and a sense that there might not be enough of it.”
My daughter made a face.
I continued. “That’s why Dad gets worried about you taking so long to get ready. He’s concerned about you both running out of time and you missing the school bus.”
“I can understand that,” my daughter said, looking thoughtful.
I smiled at her. “When you are operating from Einstein time, which you have been since you were born,” I said with a wink, “the key word is ‘MAKE.’ You choose to either make time for something or not. Either way, it’s in your control and relative to the way you see things. In other words, it bends to the laws of where you place your focus.”
Walking down the stairs to the kitchen to get breakfast, I continued.
“Let me give you an example. Do you remember earlier in the week when I called you to breakfast and you came down all out of sorts because you weren’t ready and feared you wouldn’t have time to finish your breakfast, do your hair and be able to make the bus?”
“Yeah,” my daughter said, taking a bite of scrambled egg.
“Do you remember what I told you?” I asked, handing her a cup of vitamins.
“Sure, you said I could spend my time focused on not having enough time, or I could focus on doing what I needed to do, one thing at a time.”
“Right,” I replied, pouring and handing her a glass of water.
“And do you remember what happened?” I asked.
“Uh huh. I focused on eating my breakfast. You and I talked about the upcoming weekend while you did my hair. Then I went upstairs and focused on packing my cheer outfit for the game, brushed my teeth, finished getting ready and came back downstairs.”
“Yep, and do you remember what time it was?” I looked at her with a grin.
“Of course, because we were laughing about it! I got everything done with 3 minutes to spare!”
We both laughed, again, at the memory.
I looked down at her, smoothing her hair back from her face. “Yes, and you not only had enough time, but you hadn’t felt rushed or stressed, right?”
“That’s right,” my daughter said with a smile, as she leaned over to rinse toothpaste out of her mouth.
“When we make time, we find the time we need. Because we are focused, we are more productive and work more efficiently. We are also able to be present to enjoy the process we are in.”
“Time slows down,” my daughter added.
“Time slows down,” I repeated.
“Time to go!”
“Coming Dad,” my daughter called.
As we walked downstairs together, my daughter turned to me, “thanks, Mom. I get it now and appreciate you explaining this to me. I feel better and think it will help me talk to Dad about it, too.”
She slung her backpack over her shoulder and headed out the door.
“Bye, Mom, I love you,” she called. And then, she was gone.
I stood, for a moment, smiling.
I looked at the clock and moved across the room to put the kettle on.
It was now time to make a cup of tea.