Time Waits for No Woman

I’ve always had difficulty with time. I don’t understand it. And grappling with the notion of the space-time continuum ties me up in mental knots. Sometimes, I feel as though my brain has pinched the sides of understanding, but a deep understanding of the notion eludes me.


But I don’t have to muse on the space-time continuum every day. I do, however, have to work with time every single day. There are things to be done every single day, there are places I need to be every single day. There are things I need to do with, and for, my kids every single day. Very often I feel overwhelmed by time and feel the lack of it. I am anxious because there isn’t enough. Being late stresses me more than anything else…..and yet, I often find myself running late. 


Discussing it with a friend of mine – Richard –  during the week, I traced my feelings of unease with time back to my teens. I hung around with a guy who called time ‘the enemy’. 


‘How is the enemy?’ he asked once. I looked perplexed. 

‘TIME is the enemy!’ he pronounced, and ever after, when he asked how the enemy was, I would look at my watch and tell him the time.

I understood. Time was that thing that works against us – conspiring to suck all the joy out of our days because there is never enough of it. It disappears too quickly, leaving us breathless in its wake. It rubs its hands in glee as we run to escape from it. Except there is no escape. Time wins every….well, time.  


So for twenty years, I have understood that time is my enemy. It is evil and it wants me to fail. We are constantly pitted against each other and I can never win. Part of me, despite my every experience with it, expects Time to expand to accommodate me. And then I get upset and frustrated when it doesn’t. 


This week, I had an enormous shift. (No, that’s not a confession that I kissed a fella!) I just turned my perception of time on it’s head. Talking with Richard, the words

‘Time is my best friend’ tumbled out of my mouth. A huge smile spread across my face as I realised the truth of what I’d just said. I felt as if a large, ickky, tar-like mass had moved inside me and exited my body.

‘Time is the thing that exists to allow me to get things done, it’s not something that conspires against me to prevent me getting things done,’ I continued, as the realisation flooded through me. 


Changing my view of Time has completely changed my attitude towards, and relationship with, Time. It is no longer my enemy. It is my best friend. It is there to help me, to work with me and to make sure that I get done the things I want and need to get done in my life. 


I treat a friend very differently to how I treat an enemy, as well. I now treat time with respect, I welcome it with joy and I understand that it wants what’s best for me. 


I feel lighter, happier, and know that what I want to get done, I can do – because Time is on my side. Literally. 


What is there in your life that changing your attitude towards would result in changing your life? 



Should Taxpayers Fund Private Schools?

I learn, from the radio, and The Journal that the Irish minister for education is to look at what, exactly, fee-paying schools do with the fees they are paid. The “potential extent and nature of Exchequer investment” in fee-paying schools will be under review, the Department told The Journal.


There has been a bit of grumbling in the Irish media recently about private schools that are also in receipt of tax-payer’s money.  Some people contend that if a parent wants to send their child/ren to a fee-paying school, then they should foot the bill for all the associated costs.


I disagree. According to our constitution, all children are entitled to an education. Article 42.2 states:


The State shall provide for free primary education and shall endeavour to supplement and give reasonable aid to private and corporate educational initiative,


(In the Sinnott case, the Supreme Court decided that the right to free primary education ends at age 18).


The State has a duty to provide a minimum standard of education, but if a parent desires more for their child and they are willing to find the money to pay for it, then I think fair play to them.  All they are doing is ‘topping up’ the amount provided by the state in order to ensure that their children are educated to a higher than ‘minimum’ standard.  The children of the fee-paying schools are entitled to the minimum standard at the tax-payer’s expense, just the same as the children who attend non-fee-paying schools are entitled to that minimum.


As I have written before the standard of Irish education is not very high. If you have 30 children in a room there isn’t much you can hope to teach any of them.  In many fee-paying schools, the fees go to provide extra teachers to bring down the pupil:teacher ratio. This gives the children in these classes a better chance of reaching their potential. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is what education’s all about.





Small Stone

Last year, Alison Wells drew my attention to the River of Stones blog. I enjoyed reading what she wrote every day last January, but never had the urge to join in.


Today, however, when Alison posted her first small stone of 2012, I decided to jump into the river with her.

Here’s my first small stone:

When the sky turns this colour
I always think of you
And your first floor-length gown
Of a deep midnight blue
Nervously sophisticated
You stood by the door
And you waited