Time is relative. True. Profound. Not my theory of course. Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. Today is also the day when US and UK time diverges. Daylight Savings Time US started last night. British Summer Time UK doesn’t start for another two weeks. This anything to do with relativity (or relatives) but it is confusing…even in a world organised by electronic calendars on our phones and computers.
I think that the relativity of time becomes apparent when we look back in time. Can it really be a full year since my original relatives – my mum and dad – both passed away? It is. But at times it feels like only yesterday…at other times it feels like another lifetime ago.
Can it really by six years since I took on my current role? Again yes. But again at times it feels like I am a ‘newbie’ and at other times it feels as if I am an ‘old timer’. Six years ago my children were both teenagers at school. One year ago they were holding my hand at funerals telling me it would be OK.
So yes – time is about relatives but time is also relative. But relative to what? I think that time is relative to other events and other people…to activities happening around us.
If you made me sit quietly for two hours…not talking, listening, watching or reading…that two hours would seem like an eternity. Sit me friends, family, music, a film, a book (OK – maybe not a book – my email account more likely)…then those two hours will pass in the blink of an eye.
It is the same two hours in both cases…the difference in how it feels and how I feel is relative to external events, people and actions.
When I think about the twelve months since Mother’s Day last year, how I feel depends on how I think. If I think about moments with my parents, then I miss them – I even feel lost without them. If I think about my family, my wife (on Mother’s Day) and our children, about my sisters and brother and their families (including my eleven day old grandniece)…then I feel happy and proud, loved and excited, and certain.
Proud and excited about what we have done, are doing and will do – together. Happy and loved by them all. And certain in the knowledge that my mum and dad would be so happy and so proud.
When I think about our industry and our work over six years…I am amazed at how much we have done, delivered, achieved, changed, and improved. I smile at the funny times we have experienced and I feel unhappy about the hard times. Do I think we could have done more or changed more…delivered more or changed more rapidly? Yes – but I think we all do…always.
Ours is an amazing industry that can change dramatically. It’s just hard to see that change when we are in the middle…but our partners change, our science changes, our regulators change and we change.
And it’s because of these changes in events and activities and people around us that we can so often feel we that have so much more we want to do and have to do.
My conclusion then? The key to relative time and time relativity? They key is to be 100% present today. To do the absolute best I can do today – whether it is Mother’s Day or any day. To be present with the people I am with. To savour moments and to appreciate people. To enjoy them. To be with them.
To love them…