Time cannot be returned or exchanged

Anush Yepremyan

What is time? For some cultures, time is money; for others, time is nothing but fluid. I think communication and understanding is deeply tied to people’s attitudes to time, and the way they describe it by their lexical means. For example, when I came to the United States of America, I understood that time is truly money, especially when you deal with American dentists, doctors, etc.

In Ukraine and Armenia, people tend to focus on relationships and network more than on schedule. However, it does not mean that all people are the same way in particular country. We are talking about stereotypes. Even though I grew up in Ukraine, I do my best to be on time because I do not appreciate when somebody is late. As they say, “Treat others as you want them to treat you.”

My best friend and I decided to meet at the mall and do some shopping. She is the queen of being late; she was forty minutes late. I managed to go to all the stores by the time she came. After that, when we would plan on going out with all our friends, we would always tell her that we are going to meet, let’s say, 3:30 pm, but in reality all of us knew that the actual meeting time is 4 pm. It worked pretty well.

Romke Hoogstra, who was Union of European Football Association Venue Manager during EURO 2012, which took place in Ukraine and Poland, said that it took him some time to get used to have dinner in a restaurant with a group of Ukrainians. He mentioned that in his country, the Netherlands, you have to wait until everybody arrives and, after that, order dinner all together.

In Ukraine, people were ready to order just after arriving, not waiting for the rest to come because there would always be somebody who was late. So in order not to stare at each other, people got to their business.

Nevertheless, there is one thing that is in common among all cultures: time cannot be returned or exchanged. Imagine this — what if there was a bank that would transfer 86,400 dollars on your account every single morning, and your expenses would not affect the balance of your account on the next day. The balance would reset to zero at the end of the day, no matter how much money you spent.

What would you do with all that money? You might think, “What kind of question is that? Of course, you will try to spend every last penny.”

You might not believe, but every one of us has that kind of bank, and the name of the bank is time. Every morning, we take a loan of 86,400 seconds. Every night our balance is reset to zero. The balance does not change the next day. There are no minus counts. Every day, a new countdown takes place.

If you have not used your daily credit, you are the one who loses. There is no turning back. You cannot borrow from the next day. We must live in the present on account of the time that is allotted to us for this day. In order to achieve something, one should invest his or her time properly. As Coco Chanel said, “Do not spend time beating on the wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”