Ahead of time

Ahead of time

Time: seconds add up to minutes, the minutes add up to form hours, the hours add up to make a day, the day and its fellows become a week, the weeks turn into months, the months constitute a season, the seasons become parts of a year, the years become an era, the eras become history (his-story), and the life of man and life on earth goes on in an endless continuum towards that vague point of argument many choose to call progress, civilisation, or, if one may say clearer words in the tongue of the mundane and the common; humanity is over time striving towards an elusive sense of refinement.

As the years go by man claims to be progressing towards a more refined expression of character; a more peaceable, more communal, more cooperative sense of interaction with fellow human beings and the other peripheral citizens of the earthen and earthly environs.
Time is always at the head of it all, this simple spin of the wheel of progress the wise Ecclesiast saw in its full expansive reality, and so clear was his revelation of the true futility and pleasure of its nature that he declared in chapter 3 verse 15 of his 12 Ecclesiastes: “That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been . . . ”

I wonder how it is that Kim Jong-un and the caveman should feel the same while I feel (in a manner rather unconvinced) different from how they; one carried a club, the younger owns a few nuclear warheads, and I maintain a tight grip on my Okapi.
It is by accident that man managed to harness the four elements earth, wind, fire, and water. The irony of it all is that man did not manage to harness the effects of the passage of time, or to control the speed of its passing.

Above this all, man forgot to get a grip on himself, resorting instead to play with the power the virtual ‘ownership’ of the elements gave to his depraved self. All the while, time was continuing its steady and irreversible progress towards a point in time known only to time itself.

Too much play and no serious concern for things that really mattered such as time meant that when man came to, time was a thousand leagues away, having covered that much distance while the proud ‘owner’ of the world gallivanted with pride as Narcissus did with his image in the waters of the pool Nemesis lured him to.

Time passes, or as Virgil puts it in his Georgics ‘Tempus fugit (Time flies)’, and a humanity that chooses to ignore the reality of its steady progress sooner than later discovers that they are living in the latter days when they thought their first era had just begun.
This world has places against whose names is attached a strange expression, “the people that time forgot,” and these places are often those whose progress does not match the global trends of the moment economically, socially and otherwise.

These are countries where the rich ‘tourists’ from the first world come to view life at its most ‘primitive’ and ‘simple’. And the aboriginal natives of these netherworlds grin with glee when a picture of their backward selves is taken by a passing tourist for publication for profit in some first world magazine.

We live in such a country, and we got forgot by time whilst we preened as felines do at our educational achievements, and time fleeted away as that winged steed Pegasus did. Humility is the first step toward time management. The pompous tend to arrive late, a sign of status (I think), or they may be just hooked on the sight of their plump selves in the eyes of swooning fans standing behind the cordons whilst they saunter or strut on the red carpet.

Lateness for these kinds of figures may therefore be just a deliberate act. Over the holidays, I met bigger men than my humble self, and I was rewarded for arriving on time; it is the basic rule of every kind of business to arrive on time if you are the kind of businessman that believes in striking the hammer while the iron is hot.

Punctuality affords one the comfort of changing or modifying decisions that affect the amount of work being done or discussed at the table.
I never really thought of time until I started to paint professionally for, under normal circumstances, paint dries in its own time, and the only way it can dry according to your wish is if you arrive early enough to start.

Arriving late often means that the paintjob will not be dry to allow for the client to move free in their own house. One has to be ahead of time to give the finished paintwork enough time to dry to allow for the homeowner to sleep in their own quarters.
Humility begets punctuality which gets comfort which gets the next point of discussion; versatility, which in brief means being able to deal with varying or different kinds of situations, individuals, and challenges that may present themselves in the course of an ordinary day at work or over an extended period of time.

The versatile are always on time because where others see problems that cannot be solved, they scout the immediate vicinity of the problem to find the solution for the immediate problem. An old late friend of mine once gave this piece of advice to me, “where tools to finish a job be lacking, make your own and use them . . . but make sure to stay within the basic rule to avoid disappointment later!”

I took his advice to heart and I have found that no job that I do is ever late because where the tools lack, I make them out of whatever materials I find, or just humbly borrow from fellow craftsmen in the immediate. Versatility offers one new dimensions of practical thought; it gave the man stuck in the middle of the desert because of a torn fan-belt the wisdom to know that his wife’s pantyhose could do the fan-belt’s job long enough to get them to a service station where their car could be fixed whilst they waited in the shade with daiquiris in their hands.

The proud are often obstinate in their opinions and acts, and they would rather fail a thousand times when they could get the true answer from a fellow human being close by.  Experience has taught me that even the most simple minds are good enough to show one the right way to carry out the needed task.

The truth of the matter is that one need not be proud of who they are when it comes to dealing with the world, for the citizens of the world have their own kinds of understanding on the functioning of the world which may turn out really helpful if one is humble enough to ask for it.
Recent encounters over the holidays revealed to me the fact that the deepest kind of knowledge belongs to those that are in constant touch with the problem or the issue being dealt with, this granted by the virtue of their constant proximity to the source of the problem or the issue that needs to be tackled.

The wise one always asks for directions and follows them as guided by the guardians of the territory they just entered, this done in order that they finish their journey within time or before time.  The obstinate one thinks to carve their own path, the smart one follows existing roads and thus gets to their destination quicker than the stubborn one.

The first night of this Gregorian calendar year had the brightest moon, and I took this as a sign that this year would be good; I was aware of the change in season, but my year had begun in August as per the dictates of our traditional Basotho calendar. The year and its resolutions have since my decision to follow this calendar often turned out to be behind time; for the proper planning of what is ahead is not done in the present but in the past.

The present is only there as a convenient platform from which one can determine the outcome of the future, by sticking to the plan made in the past as the Ecclesiast states.  There are signs to follow when one is in the pursuit of all that is related to time, and not following them to the tee means that one shall often find themselves lacking when it comes to the execution of the plan.

That many folks choose to make resolutions that fail is due to the simple fact that they make them hungover.  It is unrealistic to want to be a millionaire on the second day of the year when one was swimming in the sweet waters of Babylon on New Year’s Eve.  The wisdom is to plan well before the actual moment of execution, to practice the moves long enough to render them familiar enough physically and psychologically that when the moment to use them comes, one does not falter but completes the plan within the projected period.

The half moon is not actually half; it is partially light, partially dark (half-light, half dark) but the whole time, the moon keeps her full circumference. There will be hard days, and there will be merry days and the wisdom in dealing with these lies in preparing well in advance for their occurrence.
An old friend of mine once told me in a lesson that the weather does not exactly count when it comes to the execution of a plan; what counts is the weather in the individual. Waking up grumpy because the day is cloudy is a lame excuse for laziness, for women and men have built entire cities in beating rain and driving sleet without complaint.

What counts is not the weather or the conditions of the day but the spirit in the executor of the plan; the individual who has the plan and respects it enough to see it through despite or inspite of the prevailing hardships.  The goal is the target at which we aim, but we cannot get there without a plan and cannot see it through if we do not respect the plan in its full spectrum. I was offended when a security guard denied me access to a certain section of the roof at a popular mall where I was to install a satellite dish.

Common sense later showed me that he was right, and I apologised respectfully for the man was right; he was merely sticking to the security plan given to him by his superiors and he was wise enough to stick to it under any given conditions and would change it only if his superiors ordered otherwise.

We cannot hope to stay ahead of time if we dilly dally on a daily basis, hopping from one plan to the next like kangaroos in search of an elusive waterhole in the red deserts of Australia.  Staying ahead of time first means that one should be humble enough to respect all that comes within their field of vision.

African time is the result of the obstinate local wanting to prove a point, and the only point proven so far is regression, regression, and regression. We do not progress as a continent because we hold the false notion that tide and time wait for man.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is waking up to the reality that one cannot pause time, for it runs at a heartbeat for those that respect it and soon fleets away if one ignores the reality of the ticking of the clocks on the walls.

Backwardness or regression is a deliberate act born of the poor judgement of the true essence of time; time is more precious than diamonds. The fool thinks they can buy time, but only bread can be bought for a penny.  Time maintains its constant ticking and tocking and does not care how we talk about it. It only demands that we respect it as we should, by using it wisely and striving to always be ahead of time.

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