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I had looked to this day with great anticipation. It was my much-needed one day time management course. To ensure an early start, I set my rarely used alarm clock for 6:30 am.

I was out of my home by 7:20 am. Despite peak hour frequency and speed, the London Underground didn't get me to my class on time. With several different ways to get to the City, by sheer luck of Murphy's Law, I chose the slowest path of least resistance.

I arrived 30 minutes late. There was one seat waiting for me - at the far end of the rectangular table, facing the teacher and her flipchart.

As luck would have it, I had the most severe time management problem of all 8 students. I was also most vocal about my issues: I was concerned about the vicious circle of worrying about not having enough time, feeling anxious about not being late, and feeling guilty about being late. I also cited my serious effort at trying to overcome the time challenge, which seems to plague our wired society today.

For one of the exercises, our teacher pointed to the flipchart on which she had written a big 2050.


My initial reaction: the 20/80 Pareto rule or 8:50 pm?

"Picture yourself in the year 2050," she said. "Imagine yourself with old friends. What would you be talking about? Draw a mind map."

Material possessions: a standalone house big enough for two grand pianos (preferrably Steinway or Boersendorfer or Yamaha), big bathroom with a bathtub built for two, big fitted kitchen complete with blender and other appliances, herb garden, fast computer

Intangibles: don't want to be cold, hungry, poor, lonely, miserable, and full of regret; but do want to have comfort, access, good health, people I can rely on - such as friends, family, and neighbours.

Achievements: here I wrote a long list - and suddenly realised that I've got less than 50 years to achieve them!!!

The more I imagined the lines on my face, my white hair and shrunken body, the more I realised that the past would be greater than the future by that time. And I would have very little time to change my past if I don't start shaping my future now. And all my concerns about the daily minutiae vanished.

And it also occurred to me suddenly that I've been procrastinating the one most important thing in my life. It's the fear of commitment that has kept me in limbo. Will I be old and grey and having a jolly time with my fellow old and grey girl friends in 2050? Or will I be old and grey and surrounded by my grandchildren?

4 April 2002 Thursday

analyticalQ links
Where has all the time gone?
Where have all the berries gone? - a parody by the Hungry Poet