Jet lag and the art of time travel

{This second: soft grey light, decaf latte, sketches for a new story}

Sometimes I think that airplanes are really disguised time machines.  

They propel us through the atmosphere at intense speeds, and then drop us in different worlds, different times, different seasons.  

The math just doesn't compute in my limited brain. The flight from Toronto to London was 7 hours. I left at 8pm local time (Toronto) and arrived at 8am local time (London).  Technically 12 hours should have passed, but in the process I lost 5 of them into the ether.  What happened?  

Obviously, I crossed time zones. The brain might understand that, but at the molecular level our bodies just can't compute such extreme changes.  It feels like I've travelled 6 hours into the future. 

And what about when I travel to Cape Town?  No time is really gained or lost, as it's only 1 hour different to London. But I jump from one season to another.  Why is it winter in July?  Why is it summer in December?  

There is so much more to jet lag than time.  There's also the new pace of the destination.  Time feels different in each city and each country. Some places career forward, racing towards each new second as fast as possible (New York and Johannesburg come to mind).  Other places are more leisurely, each second is lived out in its entirety (Italy comes to mind...).  

What this recent, discombobulating, experience of jet lag has taught me is that time isn't just a line that keeps plodding forwards ad infinitum. It's a circle.  It's space. It has width and height.  It is elastic, and stretches and contracts based on our perception of it. When you're busy time feels short and brittle. When you're relaxing, time feels as smooth and stretchy as caramel.

The words we use to describe time make it sound like a commodity to be earned and spent.

We spend time.

We save time.

We waste time.

We take time.

We race against time.

We make time (really, how do we do that?).

And when we're supposed to be having fun or relaxing, we pass time.  But that doesn't sound very inspiring at all.

Do we ever enjoy time?  Or savour time?  

So, in the next few months I'm resolving to observe how I feel about time.  

I want to enjoy the width and depth of each second, instead of only endure the length of it.  

Does that make sense?  

We're all time travellers.

 Each one of us is hurtling through space on this little planet, experiencing each second as it passes and looking forward to the next.  

Trying to change my perception of time isn't about making goals or setting milestones. It's about learning to enjoy each moment, right here, right now, the full width and depth of it.  

This second. 

I want to notice the way the sunbeams circle around the room; to chart the stars at night; to listen to the city humming outside my walls; to watch the plants change with the seasons. I want to lie very still and imagine I can feel the earth spinning beneath me.  

This second is all about drawing.  Drawing people. Drawing faces.  Drawing gesture and emotion. There's an exciting project in the works, and I'm going to savour every second of it.

How do you feel about time?  What are the phrases you use most to describe time?

{My desk this moment in time, annotated.}

P.S.  Of course, this is part of the discussion of chronos vs kairos.  The two ancient Greek definitions of time. Chronos is quantifiable time (seconds, minutes, etc).  Kairos is "quality" time; the moment when infinity intersects with chronos.  Like the moment when you hear the perfect song at exactly the right moment.  Or the sunset is breathtaking.  Or you see a butterfly landing on a flower.  Or your baby smiles at you for the first time... Those moments that take your breath away.  But I sometimes think the definition of kairos makes this "infinity" time too rare.  The moments are isolated and "special."  Why can't we learn to find kairos every day?

Just a thought. What do you think? I'd love your opinion.