How Not To Kill Time

I can’t remember when it was I heard this quote, but it’s stuck with me and will remain with me until my ‘best-by’ date expires.

‘Life is like a toilet roll
The nearer you get to the end
The quicker it runs out.’


Before I retired in 2012, my life was hectic, and time was often my enemy. With deadlines to meet and places to be, I was forever rushing around like somebody who was too busy to tell anybody how busy I was.

I’ve always been a good timekeeper and will often arrive at appointments with lots of time to spare. However, that can backfire on me as I start questioning myself about the time I am wasting when just sitting in a waiting room, or killing time when window shopping in the high street.

I don’t like the idea of murdering time. How will Father Time deal with those who waste what he creates when their time comes to meet him? 

Father Time – The creator and keeper of time. Somebody all humans encounter as they travel through his world. 

Likewise, I don’t like the thought of me killing time because I don’t usually have enough of it to get everything done in my day. How often do I read or hear somebody say, ‘I don’t have enough time’, or ‘I wish I had more time?’ 

When I think back to my childhood, time seemed to go slowly. I remember the school summer holidays and how those six weeks of freedom seemed to last forever. 

Long, warm summer days were filled with plenty to do and plenty of time. I never complained about time then because the thought of having to go back to school was a rather horrid one. 

Even the two-week Christmas school holidays seemed to last forever when the nights are at their longest. Back then, time was my best friend. 

Then, I got my first job. Not so bad to start with, but as the years went by, I began to find myself fighting for time. If only I had saved up some of the spare time from my childhood days. I could have done so much with it.

The days would go quickly, and I often heard it said it was a sign of being busy. I’d arrive at work dreading the full week ahead on a Monday morning, but it would often pass me by like an intercity express train. 

Before I knew it, Friday afternoon would arrive, and the thought of all that free time over the weekend would put a big smile on my face.

Even better when the weekend was extended because of a public holiday. ‘Three days to roam free‘ was something else I remember being said to me by a work colleague. It’s yet another quote I’ve never forgotten.

Time is like money. Those who spend it wisely, will never lose it.   

Hugh W. Roberts

Yet, as the office clock struck five, and a long weekend was upon us, why did I often resist going home and getting the long weekend started?

Was it because the long weekend would last even longer by delaying its start? Or was it because I wanted to enjoy that feeling of ‘three days to roam free,’ even longer? Time doesn’t stop for anybody, so why was I kidding myself?   

When I retired, the thought of all that spare time on my hands was one of the benefits of retirement. I had no idea what I would do with all my spare time. However, what I did know was that I would not allow myself to get bored or become addicted to daytime television. 

I’m proud to say that I’ve never been bored or addicted to daytime television. What probably helps is living so close to the coast. Even in the winter, there are always lots of walks and much to do.

#photography #SundayStills #beach

I look back at my 32 years of working full-time and often wonder how on earth I managed to fit everything in. Where did I find the time to do what I had been doing and find all the time I had spent enjoying a social life that often took me away on holiday or on long weekend breaks? It’s something I never found out the answers to.

Fast forward to the present, and I often ask, ‘where does the time go?’ 

Unlike during the early years of my current life, the days, weeks, and months seem to zoom past even more quickly. I often compare my life to the toilet roll I mentioned at the beginning of this post. 

Now that I’m travelling through the autumn of my life, how can that be when I have so much spare time on my hands? 

I was never good at mathematics. And when it comes to time, the maths still doesn’t add up, does it?

This was a guest post originally published on Retirement Reflections, a blog by Donna Connolly. The post has been updated since its first publication on 8th April 2018.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.


73 thoughts on “How Not To Kill Time

  1. Father time as he is called …Those six weeks holidays when I was young lasted it seemed forever…Now I can still remember last years Christmas quite vividly and it seems it is nearly upon us, again…Is it because I am having too much fun being retired or trying to cram as much as I can in…I don’t know the answer any more than anyone else it seems I just wish sometimes those years would slow down a tad…So much to do…Have a great week, Hugh 🙂

    1. It’s hard to believe that Christmas 2019 is only 3 months away, Carol. Our local supermarket already has Christmas themed items for sale on display. They include chocolate Santa’s, Christmas puddings, and Advent calendars. I guess the early-bird shoppers will be delighted, though.

      You too, have a great week, Carol.

      1. I do miss the Christmas atmosphere and although I get out all my Christmas kitsch it is never quite the same it is not celebrated here and very few Christmas goodies find their way onto the shelves… The one year I decided to order some goodies and get them delivered to here between customs and the heat that was an expensive disaster… Never mind there are compensations like wall to wall sunshine and delicious Thai 🍲… 😀

        1. I enjoy the runup to Christmas more than I do the big day itself, Carol. From now until just after the New Year, I’ll be like a child in a sweet shop. It won’t be long before we make our Christmas cake.

  2. I really like that toilet roll quote – oh-so true! When you get older, time goes faster. If everyone feels that way, it must be what happens. It’s interesting how one can always fill “extra time”, saved by giving something else up, and then wonders how he/she managed to do everything else before.

    When I had a normal job (as a teacher), time went really fast, because I was extremely busy. Now, living at a slower pace (kind of, as sometimes we live at a faster pace, literally, driving around the continent). I still feel I don’t have enough time. Blame it on our creative minds, Hugh. I always have hundreds of projects to complete and will NEVER EVER be bored! I guess that’s a good thing, right? 🙂

    1. Oh, absolutely, Liesbet. I’ve never got bored with life. Too much to do in the little time, we have on this earth. I enjoy every moment of life and am always thankful for what it offers me. Even in sad times, I think of it as life offering me something different so that I never hit the bottom line of boredom. I only wish I didn’t have to sleep as much as I did. I see sleep as missing out on what else life could be offering me, but I always enjoy waking up from a good night’s sleep.

  3. I can’t believe I missed this post, Hugh! I just adjusted my tags in the reader and here it was. Very timely! I share your same concerns about wasting time and ask the same questions about how I got things done when I worked full time. This was a strange week for me in terms of time, rainy weather (I know!) and untimely events. I have also heard of the word zenosyne, in fact, I was thinking about it as I read your post! Thanks, Urspo! A friend of mine from church passed away this morning after a week in hospice care. I wonder if time is even relevant in eternity?

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Terri. Your question about time being relevant in eternity has me asking if there are day and night phases there. And what about seasons and months? I guess we’ll find out.

      I hope your untimely events have now all passed. We’ve been experiencing the last breaths of summer for the last week with beautiful warm days and chilly nights. With it being the Autumn equinox on Monday, it’s all set to change from tomorrow. Still, it’s great to see the autumn colours already making an appearance.

  4. Absolutely love this post. It’s quite scary when you hear younger people saying that time seems to be passing them by quickly. The weeks and months are passing by so quickly it’s untrue. I’ve had the worst year of my life this year and yet time has not stood still, the days are still ticking by far too quickly. Really enjoyed this post.

  5. Time is very fleeting. The perspective becomes clearer once retired. Suddenly you go from a crazy person fighting time, to a person collecting time. It happens too quickly. Thank you for an excellent post, Hugh.

  6. Time…that mystery! Always baffled me and as you have said, as a child It always went too slow, but personally, that was because I was always saying, “I can’t wait for Christmas, or my birthday, or holidays or …”. Now I’m forever saying, “Time, will you slow down!!” Honestly where does it go in the day?! Great to read this Hugh and the images are wonderful 🙂

    1. I enjoy finding suitable images for my blog posts. Sam. In fact, I spend a lot more time finding them than I used to. I think it so important to have at least one image on a blog post. That, however, is a post for another day. 😀

  7. I read your article yesterday, and it’s already one day later today.
    Anyway, interestingly this turned up in the Recommended articles on my ‘Pocket’ app this morning and, as the old ad for the Post Office said, I thought of you.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was already tomorrow at this rate.

    1. Thanks for sending over that article. All rather scientific for me, but I’m sure they are right in what they say. After all, there has to be a reason why time seems to speed up as we grow older, doesn’t there? I will reread the article after my one and only cup of strong coffee a day. It usually stimulates my ‘slowing down’ brain cells into a frenzy. I’m sure they will make more sense of it then.

  8. I have been retired for three years, and I am loving life. The one downside (there are far more positives) is that time seems to be going faster. I’m busy (the way I like it) but the same was true when I was working. When we’re younger it seemed time couldn’t go fast enough; there was always something I was looking forward to (Christmas at any age, driving at 16, being able to vote at 18, being served alcohol at 21, etc.) Now I wish time would slow down as I am having too much fun being retired.

    1. That’s all great to hear, Pete. Like you, I always look forward to Christmas. Now, it seems to come around a lot quicker (which isn’t a bad thing). I guess that’s one advantage of time seemingly going faster as we grow older.

      I’m glad to hear you still love life. Same here. Whatever we choose to do in our retirement years should always be about enjoying ourselves. Keep on enjoying it.

  9. All so true. I’ve been retired four years now and don’t know how I ever got everything done, as now the whole days goes by so fast and I seem to have accomplished or done very little. It might be all those afternoon naps though…..

    1. I guess it depends on how long those naps are, but isn’t it great that you can now take them when you feel like taking one? Since I retired, my sleep pattern does not seem to have changed very much. I still get up just as early as I did when I had to go to work. However, that’s probably all down to being a ‘morning’ person.

    1. You’re welcome, Donna. And thank you for inviting me to write a guest post which went on to produce this article. It hasn’t changed a lot from the original, which goes to prove that I’m still looking for the answers.

  10. Gosh, I am completely with you, Hugh! I cannot remember the last moment I felt bored. Time is so precious and there is rather too little currently. And that causes the feeling of where did the time go. The quote on top totally sums it up… lol!
    But I am about to change this since I notice how little I lose precious time. I will reduce my work hours and instead fill the time with more things my heart wants to feel and experience (again)! Great post and so confirming!

    1. I’m glad to hear you will soon have more time to fill with everything you enjoy doing, Erika. I know you will make the very most of it. I’ve been exactly the same. I thought my early retirement days would mean dull, dreary days. How wrong I have been. However, I think much of that has to do with what direction we choose to take when faced with a big part of our life that is about to change and give us more time to fill. It’s often more about the choices than what we feel we have to do.

      1. Oh yes, definitely! Making more time for the things we enjoy doing doesn’t mean lying around. As you said, our actions simply take a different direction. For example, I want to dedicate more time to my therapy practice (renew a lot of things) and my garden, finally translate my book, and next year I will begin a new education… no dull moments in sight for sure… lol!
        As you said, it is about the choices with which we fill our days.

  11. Like you I’m retired and enjoying all this time I now have for myself. I don’t think of it as ‘killing’ time, but rather that I have the freedom to choose how I use my time, free from any stress or pressure. That is a luxury not afforded to us when work gets in the way!

  12. This was a beautiful read.

    I think in the younger years so much had to be fitted in. In the older years, especially for my mum, health issues means that less is achieved in the same time, and now it is more treasured time. I think there is beauty in slowing down just a tad.

    Love your quotes.

    Great post.

  13. I think it is an age thing – when we are young we think we have all the time in the world to visit places, see friends, catch up with family – but something always gets in the way. Then, as we ‘near the end of the toilet roll’ we realise that time is running out and we’ve been that busy doing stuff for other people, we’ve forgotten about ourselves and need to enjoy every minute we have left. When I first met my late mother-in-law, I was 18 and she was 43 – she used to say she didn’t know where the day had gone (and I thought “silly old woman), by the time I was 43, I knew exactly what she meant (I never let on though 🙂 ) Since I too retired, I am only busy because I want to be, not because someone else tells me I should be.

    1. Lol, I love what you said about your late-mother-in-law and the quote she used to tell you. It’s so true, and now you know, Eileen. I only wish we had known how precious time is when we were enjoying it so much in our early years. I would have saved so much of it up and put it in a magical time-saving box. But I wonder if I’d had delved into the box to use any of it up? I doubt it. I’d be telling myself to keep it for a rainy day which, of course, never comes.

  14. Great topic, Hugh 🙂
    I think, that people with positive minding try to use their time in a good manner and people with less positive minding are more inclined to kill their time. At least my experience.

      1. You are very welcome Hugh.
        I noticed this, when I talked with depressed people, that they mostly talked about, how to kill the time or how to get the day running faster, so they could go to bed and rest again.

  15. What a lovely post. I have been so busy writing fiction and poems I quite forgot how to write thoughtful pieces like that.
    I blog about what has happened to me but rarely go into my feelings and memories. Maybe it is because I don’t know who is reading the posts so am careful to write only what I would be happy to find in the public domain.
    Having come off twitter I now rely on wordpress for my on line contacts and find they are both stimulating and encouraging.
    As for wasting time, call it meditating and you are in fashion. If you do one creative or helpful thing each day that day is not wasted.

    1. Your last sentence is so true, Julie.

      I try and write and publish posts like this one to get away from my usual blogging tips posts. Although this post was initially written as a guest post on another blog, I thought it useful to bring it back, update it, and republish it on my blog. I’ve also republished it for another reason, which I will be talking about in next week’s post.

  16. Time can be our enemy if we let it. I am always trying to squeeze more into the short 24 hours we get a day. I´m retired after working 48 years, raising children, keeping a house, sitting on boards, volunteering and writing books. I thought I´d have tons of time when I retired. Wrong! I actually feel I have less time. How did that happen? Loved this post and the quotes are dead on.

    1. I know, exactly how does it happen, Darlene? The maths do not add up. I thought retirement was all about leisurely strolls on the beach, long lunches, and reading the newspaper. How wrong I was. However, it’s better than being bored. That, I am thankful for.

  17. It’s very scary how quickly the time is passing. I always remember someone saying to me, the older you get the quicker the time goes…and it’s proving to be true. We just have to make the most of every minute. Great post, Hugh

    1. We do indeed, Cathy. No matter how many times I tell myself that the days are the same length as they were when I was a child, they still seem to go by far quicker than they use to. And I seem to as busy now as I was when I was working full-time. I’ve no idea how that works.

  18. What a great post, Hugh! You are right, time does seem to fly by the older we get!! I find I may dread a particular week, and before I know it, it is Friday… though the same happens with the weekend, and Monday arrives far too fast!

Join the discussion by leaving me a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.