The Time Keeper

Friday, September 27, 2013

"To my faithful readers, the ones who picked up this book without even asking what it was about"

Indeed, when I bought "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom, I had no idea what the book entailed at all, I just wanted to read the book very badly, solely because it was written by one of my favourite authors of all time. Sure, I acknowledge that purchasing a book because of such a reason was silly and brainless but it was because I had that much faith and trust that this author would not let me down. 

And he didn't. 

Although this book hasn't been that well-received by several book critics, I personally found that the message he was sending struck a chord in me. Mitch Albom's books are always so inspiring and leaves me thinking so much about life, a theme that he constantly plays with in his tales. There are many who might think that there isn't really a climax to the plot in his books (which is true as his characters usually embark on a journey that isn't really cluttered with obstacles, though that may not necessarily be a bad thing) or that it is too simplistic to be considered a piece of good literature (that's what my brother always tells me and I do agree as well that there isn't a lot of depth of mystery in terms of the characters featured). However, there are certain things that needn't require to fit into the exact mould to be deemed good - why need depth or a typical rising-falling action plotline when the message being sent through is thought-provoking and engaging enough to leave its reader satisfied? That's what I think, at least. 

"The Time Keeper", after finishing it, is now one of my favourite books by far, alongside another of Albom's works "The Five People You Meet In Heaven", as it tells of a story (or perhaps three stories, one for each protagonist) of time and sends a message that I personally feel is important for every human being on this planet to understand and discover. I will try my best not to spoil anything for any of you and I highly encourage all of you reading this to grab this book and enjoy it - be it buying it, getting it from the library or loaning it from me (I don't mind lending my copy out, as long as you promise to be responsible with it - approach me!) Whether or not you've read the book, I would just like to share some of my thoughts about the main theme of time and how people constantly try to play with it, either by yearning to turn it back, fast-fowarding it or perhaps ending it. 

Somehow, this theme has been recurring in a number of books I've read this year, such as the Literature play I studied this year "Everything But The Brain" and even a recent movie I watched during Horror Movie Options "Pee Mak". For these two, both touch on the protagonist wanting to spend more time with their loved ones. For "The Time Keeper", though it's a bit different - and therefore fresh and unique to me, I won't spoil it though - it also showcases the innate human desire to control time in one's own hands. 

Why is this theme such a popular one to be used in fiction stories? Because it's parallel to what we really want in real life - living in this world, we constantly complain about time. 

"Why is time passing so slowly? I want Friday to come!"

"Shit I need more time; History exam tomorrow and I haven't studied!" 

Despite knowing that we won't be able to exercise control over the ticking of the clock, we still wished we could because time has defined who we are as people. Like it or not, it controls our life and how we live it. Our schedules, our activities are planned by the hour. We wake up at 6am in the morning because time tells us we'll be late for school if we don't. What we do when we're 80 years old would be so different than what we do when we're 16 because time has gotten the better of us. Time is like a silent dictator - it controls us and yet we keep trying to control it still, even though we know we evidently can't. Why ask for something we know very well we'll never get? Why can't we just live in the moment, not bothering about what time is doing to us? 

Imagine a world without time - you get up at sunrise, because the sun rays shining through your drawn curtains seeps into your eyelids, not because the shrill sounding alarm woke you up. You peer through your windows to admire the hues of red, orange and yellow. You live every day to your fullest not because you worry about time running out or death but because you know that every moment is precious - there isn't an end goal in mind because you won't know what time will lead to and therefore it is the moment that counts.

Without the measure of time, there would be no fear of time running out.  

The fact is, we are all so scared, so afraid that we'll one day finally run out of time. Because of this fear, we try to make use of every single second we have - which is a good thing, making full use of the time we have - but there are instances where things get out of hand; where we get so caught up that we become ungrateful for what we have and seek for more. Being naturally greedy creatures, we seek for more, we seek for what we don't have - we yearn for more time to do more things, to work longer hours, to earn more money, to study harder, to score better grades, to satisfy ourselves. However, if we keep living like this, will we ever know when to stop? We will never ever be satisfied enough because there are so many things we'll want to do with this limited amount of time we have. And the quality of what we do will then decline. If we didn't have this fear, we'll be able to invest all our efforts into perfecting something and not get distracted by multi-tasking, assuming that doing that will help us make use of our time better. 

Truthfully, there is no way that we'll be able to remove the element of time in our lives at this day and age, because everyone relies so very heavily on it. As long as we know that the time we have is limited and come to terms that that is something we'll never be able to change, I think it'll make us truly appreciate every moment, "to make each one precious". 

And I will try my best to. 

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