Tag Archives: Time

Daily Prompt: Linger

Tell us about times in which you linger — when you don’t want an event, or a day to end. What is it you love about these times? Why do you wish you could linger forever?

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An event is often thought of as something like a wedding, or a concert – a big occasion.  In fact, the definition of an event is this:

A thing that happens or takes place, especially one of importance

I’ve been a nighthawk all my life, staying up to party, finish a book, complete a piece of work or just goof off.  For most of that time, I was not much of an early bird, I liked to sleep as long as possible, then dash off to work or whatever appointment I had at the time.

These days,  even if I stay up late, I wake up early, sometimes around 4:00 am.  I believe it’s a symptom of age.  Through the winter months, this is something of a pain, but as spring comes and the sky brightens, I really enjoy waking up in time to see the sun rise through my bedroom window, while the Baskerville Beasties come to give me their sleepy greetings. 

There is nothing finer, as far as I am concerned, than to wake up slowly, allow the sun to warm the garden and then take time for a leisurely coffee out there before taking the dogs for a stroll while the only sounds are the birds calling and maybe the milkman beginning his rounds.  There is a sense of peace, of time retrieved, that just isn’t available at other times of the day.

When it’s time to get ready to leave for work, it can be really and truly difficult to wrench myself out this idyll and trundle back into the “real” world.

Daily Prompt: Linger – Picture found on Michael Hyatt’s page

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Pressure: Time

stopwatchWhat puts more pressure on you: time constraints or achieving perfection?

Taking the definition I checked on Saturday into account, e.g. :

sense of stressful urgency caused by having too many demands on one’s time or resources:  he resigned due to pressure of work[COUNT NOUN]: the pressures of city life

I can confidently say that time constraints constantly interfere with my desire to achieve perfection.  You know how it is – the work project has to be delivered by a certain date, the daily business has to go on while you are faffing about with external contractors (they never speak your language, you’ve got to learn how to explain what you want/need in their terms instead of your own), you want everything done right, if it’s a web application that your clients must use, and you have to support them and use the backend on a daily basis, it had better be perfect. 

In order to achieve this you’ve also got to work with colleagues (is this going to meet the need, will you understand how to use it?), and the clients (is this going to meet your need? will you understand how to use it?) and so on.  I’m currently taking a course in project management at work, the running joke among the group is that it would all go perfectly and delivery would be on time if it wasn’t for the other people.  They just soak up so much time. And there are so many other responsibilities you have to meet outside this project, do they not understand?  Why won’t they just get on with it?  etc., etc., etc.

The solution to this is of course to allow time to plan your project, with all the stakeholders, before you ever get started. If it looks like the project won’t be delivered on time, it is acceptable to re-think the plan, revise your strategy and in some cases it’s even ok to scrap everything and start over.  So in general, while time constraints in this type of activity does cause me to feel under pressure, it’s bearable and manageable.

A situation where there isn’t much chance of finding a “get-out” clause is in competitive sport.  Most sports competitions are defined by achieving a certain goal within a certain time, or within the fastest time. My own experience of this was in individual fencing tournaments, which I briefly discussed in Pressure:  Strength.    In fencing, you have to give your all in increments of 3 minutes or less. In that time, you have to be able to read your opponent sufficiently to predict their intentions, ensure you don’t signal your own intentions, come up with a strategy to deal with their approach, and mislead them into making errors, follow the rules and, (especially if your coach is watching!) execute all the moves perfectly.  In this scenario, it’s all on you. Nobody can help you, and there is no-one else to blame.  If you lose (fail), your opponent is better than you (not an option) or you just didn’t do what you were supposed to do in the allotted time, e.g. there is no-one to blame but yourself.  If you don’t have the right mindset to enjoy this particular type of pressure, you should think long and hard about making an activity like this your personal outlet, because I’m here to tell you, it won’t be fun for very long.

Pressure: DefinitionUnder Pressure – QueenNaBloPoMo January 2014Picture from 123rf (still waiting for my code…..)

Pressure: Definition

All through this month I have felt somewhat ambivalent about what the word “pressure” really means in the context of the NaBloPoMo January 2014 list.  To get some clarity, I once again consulted the Great Oracle Google for a definition and here it is, courtesy of Oxford Dictionaries:

Definition of pressure in English:

pressure – Top 1000 frequently used words – Line breaks: pres|sure – Pronunciation: /ˈprɛʃə

NOUN –

[MASS NOUN]

  • continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it:the gate was buckling under the pressure of the crowd outside

[COUNT NOUN] the force per unit area exerted by a fluid against a surface with which it is in contact:gas can be fed to the turbines at a pressure of around 250 psi

  • the use of persuasion or intimidation to make someone do something:  backbenchers put pressure on the government to provide safeguards[COUNT NOUN]: the many pressures on girls to worry about their looks
  • the influence or effect of someone or something:  oil prices came under some downwards pressure
  • sense of stressful urgency caused by having too many demands on one’s time or resources:  he resigned due to pressure of work[COUNT NOUN]: the pressures of city life

VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

  • attempt to persuade or coerce (someone) into doing something:it might be possible to pressure him into resigning[WITH OBJECT AND INFINITIVE]: she pressured her son to accept a job offer from the bank

Origin

late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin pressura, from press- ‘pressed’, from the verbpremere (see 1) in Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English)”1).

Definition of pressure in:

Under Pressure – QueenNaBloPoMo January 2014 – Picture from Live Science – Queen, Under Pressure

Daily Prompt: Fast Forward

If you could fast forward to a specific date in the future, when would it be?

Having effectively experienced a two-year fast forward in my life, I promise you, there is no date in the future I ever want to rush to.

fast_forwardI believe that the future is constructed by the steps we take in that direction, and when some day you have been looking forward to arrives, the pleasure or joy in it stems from the preparation and the anticipation leading up to it.  It you just land there, unprepared and unaware of the circumstances that would surround you when you arrive – will the day really be what you want it to be? Or will it be a disaster? Imagine, for instance, picking a date in the future and finding yourself in the middle of a war, or a natural disaster, or some other horror that couldn’t be predicted today? Depending on what science fiction scenario applies, you will either meet your future self, or will have fallen out of existence between the here and now and your future (which will become your here and now – very confusing).

Let me explain before you think I’ve lost my marbles (although this is a story about when I actually did).  I loved horses from a very young age, probably beginning with Arkle who I wrote about earlier this week.  I started out like many horse-made youngsters by hanging round a stables doing odd jobs in exchange for riding lessons, and became a reasonably proficient weekend cross-country rider.  I was lucky enough to only have three falls over the years, and never broke more than a tooth.  My time-warp experience is tied to the last fall, which back in May 1995.  Some people may recognise that this is the same month that Christopher Reeve fell from his mount at an event in Culpepper, Virginia.

Anyhow, during that same week, I cycled out to my local stables and to my delight was given the opportunity to take a new, green, mare through her paces in the arena.  All went well until she spooked coming up to a 5 foot spread.  I got her under control while being exhorted by her trainer to “not let her away with it” – and committed to the jump.  Unfortunately the skittish young mare decided she was going to get away with it, which resulted in an emphatic refusal at the last minute – and muggins here went half-way over the obstacle by herself. I landed backwards across the bars then fell backwards and head first onto the ground.  I remember that very well, and can feel a little seasick  when I visualise  the roof and the ground appearing to rotate for what seemed like forever while actually taking a second or two at most.

The next thing I remember is sitting at the side of the arena, trying very hard to tell the trainer what day it was (I eventually figured it was Wednesday) but couldn’t for the life of me tell him where I worked. He looked very concerned, but I still clearly recall thinking that I must have concussion and that minor memory loss was to be expected, temporary, no problem.

To cut a long story short, there was a trip to A & E, my head got examined (brain still existed) and there was no apparent damage.  I was really pissed, because this was several hours after the accident, and my boyfriend hadn’t turned up. I was also quite hurt that my dad did not arrive to pick me up – the trainer drove me home.  More insult, when I got home, my dog did not come out to greet me.  What the heck was wrong with everybody?

I lost no time complaining to mum about the feckless boyfriend, the useless dad and the unfaithful dog.  I proceeded into the kitchen to make coffee and found myself switching the tap to high power instead of off when the kettle was full. I pulled doors instead of pushed them.  My hapless mother was stumbling to tell me something, but I proceeded with wreaking my backwards havoc on the kitchen, and grumbling about the lack of support from boyfriends, fathers, dogs… until she finally managed to point out that my dad had died two years ago, the loyal old dog followed him less than a week later and I had subsequently broken up with the boyfriend, who had proved himself to be quite feckless.

I don’t know if you can imagine what it was like to suddenly be thrown back into the grief of losing a father and a well-loved pet, almost simultaneously, when you have already gone through all the stages of mourning, but I promise you faithfully, such things should be a one-time experience only.  To go through it all a second time, without the buffer of time, is almost unbearable.

Fortunately for me, I walked away from that accident, shaken up, emotionally upset, but physically whole.  My colleague’s sister had a similar fall that month, and did not survive it.  Christopher Reeve, as we all know, became a quadreplegic for the rest of his life.  Whatever last decision they made, and I made, at the crucial moment when the fall became inevitable, led to each individual outcome.  Had I been in a different frame of mind, had been more, or less, relaxed enough not to land so badly, maybe I would have been dead, or quadreplegic.  Who knows?  What if I hadn’t lived out the two years that led up to that moment?

So, if the offer ever comes up to fast forward, I’ll be staying in the here and now, thank you very much.  But if you decide to make the trip, I’d love to know how you get along.

Daily Prompt: Fast Forward