Growing up as a young man, I have always been perturbed about one particular question. A question that kept me surfing the net for hours unending but never appreciated the outcome. The quest to find a true answer to my question took me to my grand-dad one Saturday evening but his responses made little or no impact on my plight. I remember vividly my first social studies class, second year and first academic term at Mfantsipim School (Ghana’s first senior high school). When the class representative, Sidney Ashong stood up in response to the teacher’s remark; ‘time is money’. How could time be considered as money? He asked abashedly. I felt a sharp bliss within my heart, thinking my long-awaited answer would be the teacher’s response. Time will tell, he sharply retorted and left the class. To tell you the truth, it did me more harm than good. I became more bewildered than before because it kept me wondering; What is this thing called time? Why do some say it is money? And what has time got to tell us as uttered by the teacher? I continued to live in ignorance until one bright Saturday afternoon. A day I had taken three good days to prepare for. A debate between Wesley Girls High school (renowned girls senior high school in Ghana) and Mfantsipim was scheduled for this day, and I being the principal speaker, had made all necessary plans to ‘make my name’(impress my audience) that day. Not only with the eloquence of speech but with my dressing and style as well. The energy that went into the preparation was just enough to meet the goal: four hours of undistracted ironing, half an hour on shoes, three continuous days of intensive manicure and pedicure, forfeiting prep for three good days to work on my pronunciation, not forgetting the purchase of a new pair of shoes with my last 40 Ghana cedis. The name and fame that came with it and the prize that awaited the participants (special dining hall meal through the academic term) were worth the sacrifice.
The sharp pain that sunk deep down my heart, and the shock that surrounded my face at that particular moment when I realized the bus had left just a minute before I had reached the waiting area was just enough to get me on a stretcher. I started to think about all that I had hoped for; the fame and the special treat all couldn’t materialize just because of time. The answer to my long-awaited question started to run through my head. So this was all about this time thing. That which was able to determine the potential award winners of the debate, that which was able to shutter all my dreams and expectations. It gave chance to ‘the available least expected’ and sidelined ‘the unavailable expected person’. I couldn’t have missed this great opportunity just by a minute turn of the clock. I sobered and went indoors.
Few weeks after the debate had taken place, the definition of time became much clearer. Seeing the person who took my place at the debate walk to the special dining table each day made me realize the harm the 1-minute lateness had caused me. The post-boy was always not farfetched from his room because he was now very popular across the entire senior high schools in the central region of Ghana. As I sat at the visitors' lounge one Sunday morning I began to cogitate and I asked myself; what then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know. I began to appreciate the essence of time from that day. I Pondered over all that I had read some time before, prominent among them was the quote from M. Scott Peck-“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” The words of my granddad lingered through my mind as if he was pouring out those words at that particular time; Time is the coin of life, it is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let others spend it for you. I left that lounge very determined and ready to be punctual and very serious about time.
I spent at least 20 minutes each day of my time to read something about time and this is what I came across one day at the school library; something will master and something will serve. Either you run the day or the day runs you. Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things. Don’t mistake movement for achievement. It’s easy to get faked out by being busy. The question is: Busy doing what? Days are expensive. When you spend a day you have one less day to spend. So make sure you spend each one wisely. Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it. We can no more afford to spend major time on minor things than we can spend minor time on major things. Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Time is the best-kept secret of the rich.
As students, let us make use of our time very well. We’ve all been victims before and no one is a saint when it comes to time. But the earlier we give it much attention the better. There is no recycler of time. Tried as our scientists did, they could only come up with what could measure time and not what could get it back when lost. Each second counts!