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Hurry on!: a story about time in the twenty-first century

The most significant lessons about time I learned during a class that — ironically — had a clear time schedule.

It was during the summer of 2017. It was a very hot summer day in the middle of the Austrian Alps, and the first out of five classes about the ‘Timescapes of the twenty-first century’ was about to begin.

You see, apart from being terrified of getting older, I never really paid that much attention to time. But the title of the seminar really captivated me — especially during this moment when time seems one of the most valuable goods, and when we barely have free time to call our own in the middle of so much that’s been happening on the world.

The seminar was conducted during the 2017’s European Forum Alpbach, and it was conducted by Ulrike Felt and Judy Wajcman, two of the most incredible, inspiring and intelligent women I was honored enough to meet during my (still ongoing) lifetime.

During that first ‘class’, one of the discussions we had was about what we can do with time. Here are my three main learnings from that day — and what they really meant to me:

1. You can measure time.

Apart from the scientifically correct and technical terms, such as the multiple temporal structures (timing, tempo, duration, frame…), the time measurement was something that — again — I never really thought about.

It is fascinating to think that humans created seconds, and minutes, and hours. Or did you ever thought about the fact the, if it wasn’t for someone out there, we would never know what a second feels like? I mean, what is a ‘second’ anyway?

But the most interesting thing for me was that we have other types of time measure apart from the clock. And it was a really nice thing to remind me about Chronos and Kairos.

Long story short, while Chronos are the ‘traditional’ way of measuring time — clock, calendar, routine — , Kairos refers to a more qualitative and individual time, the ‘right’ time. And both of the terms were used by the ancient Greeks to talk about time.

The first time I heard of Kairos, I was going through an amazing team experience in AIESEC, and our team’s coach referred to Kairos in order to make it clear to us that some things happen for a reason, on the right time.
And to be a scholarship holder of the EFA17 was just about that, too.The event really meant a lot to me in terms of self-discovery, and understanding what I can do professionally, what my next step is. The Forum somehow happened to me at the exact time it was supposed to happen.

2. You can make time.

We all know (and at some point heard) that you have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé. So what you do with your day (and how productive it is) is up to you. But making time is not only about being productive. Actually, for me, making time is about prioritizing.

When I am working for too long, I make time for a quick meditation. When I miss home, I try to make more time to see my parents. When I feel that everything’s about to crumble, I make time to reflect and go into the woods for a hiking.

Everything I just said is on demand. But to prioritize is also to get to know yourself and choose wisely how your routine is going to be. It is to strategically make time to feel more comfortable while doing things you love (and consequently being more productive). In that sense, I make time for creative projects in the morning. I make time to go for a run during sunset. I make time to grab a coffee right after lunch.

Making time to do the things you love can be highly rewarding. And it could make you happier at the end of your day. Just like Beyoncé.

3. Last, but not least: you can take time.

Again, there is the taking-an-hourglass-on-your-hand action. But you can own your time in another way, which is, from my point of view, a very powerful thing you can do: take time for yourself.

Being a young woman who has recently graduated was some sort of a nightmare to me during this year. I mean, I have a lot of questions in my mind (which is better than having a lot of answers, I know).

But if it wasn’t for the time I took to think about me, my passions, and what I want to do in my life, I would have probably accepted the first job opportunity society has handled me. And I cannot think about how miserable I would be sitting in an individual cubicle all day long, 40 hours per week.

I mean, I am a talker. A creative. An unfocused and highly curious human being. Sitting alone, for me, is the worst thing ever. I can feel my brain languishing while thinking about everything I would speak to a stranger just in order to communicate to someone and hearing about their life story.

Taking time to myself this year was one of the most precious things I could have done. I know it will make sense in the years that are about to come. Especially because taking time for yourself in a world where we mostly need to hurry on all the time, could mean you will be sane enough to carry on.

When was the last time you took a time for yourself as well?

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Sou curadora de conhecimento, curiosa por aprendizagem, andragogia, DEI e habilidades socioemocionais, e apaixonada por ouvir e contar histórias.