A Great Day to Travel Home Life seems so fast now. It is an interesting concept that time seems to go by faster or slower depending on what we are doing or have to get done? Remember when you were a kid and summer holidays rolled around? It felt like you had a year of days off. There seemed to be no end to the lazy mornings, berry picking, swimming, riding your bike, playing with friends and watching stars at night. Ironic to think that my mother, who at that same time would have been raising 4 children, working full -time, growing a garden, keeping house while trying to squeeze in some socializing with friends and relatives would not have felt the same sense of endless time. Have you every wondered why that is?
There have been many books written about time. The Greeks used different words to denote different meanings for time. In particular they use the word chromos when discussing time in terms of duration of time as the revolving of the earth and the position of the sun denote. For example, a person might use the term “high noon,” meaning that the sun was directly overhead, half way on its journey across the sky.
On the other hand Greek use the word kairos when they want to describe individual or personal time. For example, “it is the perfect time” or a “we had a fabulous time” speaks more to the idea that an individual can attach meaning to specific ‘times’ in their day and life which have nothing to do with the universal meaning of time passing, as in duration. Perhaps I was thinking in terms of kairos when I was young and my mother was thinking in terms of chromos.
Today much of our lives, especially in North America, might be considered mainly in what the Greeks refer to as chromos. Just consider what daily life looks like in 2013. A person gets up early, to get a quick run or workout in at the gym before hurrying home to jump in the shower and throw on some clothes to head out to work. On the way to work they might drive- through a convenience coffee shop to get a to-go coffee and breakfast. They quickly drive in the rush hour traffic to work where they settle in to check their emails and get last minute lesson, presentations or preparations done for the workday. Coffee break is often a prepackaged, convenience snack that can be eaten with the hands at a desk or while standing and lunch is often take-out, order in or sometimes, brown bag. They rush to get through their workload for the day so they can step out early to pick up the kids and begin the after school rush to drop them off at sports practice; music or dance lessons and squeeze in some errands in between pick-ups and drop-offs. Often the circuit of extra-curricular activities and meetings runs right through dinnertime so on the way home they stop for take-out dinner or rush home to throw something together that is fast and convenient.
When everyone is settled at home and getting to bed, a quick load of laundry thrown in the washer and dryer, the dishwasher is turned on and everyone settles in to get some shut eye so they are ready to begin the cycle again the next day. I am exhausted just writing this.
Sadly, I fell into this pattern while raising my kids. There was however one difference in my experience of ‘time.’ I just couldn’t do the fast food thing very often. It did not make sense to me to fill my family’s bodies with ‘edible substances’ that we often referred to as ‘mystery meat’ or ‘petroleum products,’ just to save time. In fact it occurred to me that I could probably come up with something that was real food, nutritious and delicious in short order just by having the right ingredients on hand and being organized.
My children are grown now and they don’t live with me. Funny though, I still find myself living in terms of chromos fairly often, trying to squeeze the ‘to do list’ in plus any extras I think of during the day. Before I know it, my stomach is growling, the light is fading and I have not started anything for dinner. Last night was one such night.
We had been away for the weekend and upon our return later in the day the weather was so magnificent that we couldn’t bear to go inside and waste the last of the day’s sunlight. After a walk to the beach to watch the kite-boarders we found ourselves in the kitchen hungry with nothing prepared or planned. Aha, the moment that take-out sushi or pizza would be nice.
Alas, habits die hard and I just could not succumb to the temptation to go ‘fast’ knowing the let down and ‘hangover ‘ I would have after consuming empty calories that would leave me still feeling hungry and furthermore, guilty for having wasted the opportunity to prepare and share a good meal with my beau, if only I had been thoughtful and creative.
So, with intention and fervor began the ‘chopfest’ of every vegetable we had in the fridge and pantry. We chopped carrots, onions, garlic, beets, beet tops, peppers and a little salami for good measure. In a matter of minutes we had the makings of a good meal. Add to that a little fine quality olive oil, some heat, a few herbs and spices, vegetable stock from the freezer and about ½ an hour and there we had it, rich, and nutritious, delicious vegetable soup. A dollop of sour cream would have topped it off just nicely but since we did not have that in the fridge we opted for a creamy blob of herb cream cheese.
It doesn’t get any better than that for ‘fast food.’ No guilt, upset stomach, bloating or headache from unknown substances, just a full tummy and a sense of pure satisfaction for thinking in terms of kairos at mealtime rather than chromos. We chose to think of time in terms of creating and experiencing personal meaning rather than just the passage of a certain part of the day. I think the Greeks may have had things figured out a long time ago.