My interpretation of Pink Floyd’s “Time” Song
This is a totally random blog, but I got to talking on facebook tonight with one of my old baseball friends and we got to discussing this song from our baseball playing days. The song is TIME by Pink Floyd and is one of my favorite songs of all time. Great lyrics, and many different possible interpretations to the lyrics. Here were some of my thoughts after hearing the song again after not having heard it for many years and thinking about what the words meant to me growing up. In my opinion, this was a MOTIVATIONAL song about the regret you will have if you waste your talents (or fail to ever identify your talents), or otherwise squander the time you were given or the gifts you had. Some see it as a sad, depressing song. I can see that as well, but only for those who didn’t get it figured out as early as possible in their lives. For some that means later on life, for as the old saying goes “it is never too late to be who you might have been.” For those of you, the “starting gun” was already fired, and its time to jump in the ring!!!
Time is the same for everyone. The Clock ticks the same speed no matter who you are, whether you are a person running a marathon, an animal searching for food, or an insect traveling across the hot dessert looking for shade.
But how we, as humans, “view” time and how we “use” time differs for everyone. Thus the hustle and bustle of the city and the quiet nature of sitting next to a stream.
How we “view” time can differ
The young baby bouncing the ball does not understand time.
The teenager in a boring class in high school is literally tortured by time.
The catcher in a baseball game knows he has less than 2 seconds to get the ball to the second baseman or the runner steals the base. Time is critical.
The person fearing death wonders how much time is left, and how it should be spent.
How people “use” their time also differs greatly from person to person
Some wait around for direction and mentorship that may never come, or which may come in the form of bad advice from someone who has not “been there and done that.” Thus the intro of the song which says:
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Some spend their time dreaming of grand things (or “thinking everything through” ad nauseum), but are never able to create a plan that matches their skills and abilities and fits the needs of the “real world” and thus their dreams “die on the vine” and never come true, leading to frustration. This lyric address this:
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
Some people “seize the day” and race around like a rocket-ship to try to “experience everything.” For some people this is the only definition of “living,” sucking the most out of each day. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Maybe you do this for 10 or 15 years and think “wow, I haven’t really gotten very far” and not really sure that I have even “started living at all.” This may explain the lyric:
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
Still others may use their time to seek to amass fortunes to try to attain the “respect” and admiration of the peers, only to find this can be a dead end street (or the “hamster wheel” as some refer to it). Nevertheless, their time will be spent reading, making phone calls, sales pitches and sending emails. But is this really accomplishing anything as this lyric suggests:
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
Some devote their lives to their kids and hope they can “live life better than I did without making the same mistakes.” Their concept of using time focuses around spending time with their kids, and setting the stage for grandkids and old age, only to look back and wonder if the time was spent in the best way possible, or if there is still time to attain the “dreams of youth” or if its tool late to start now:
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Regardless of the varietals, its how we each decide to USE OUR TIME that matters most. We all normally have the “choice” to decide what to do with the ball of clay we are given that is called life, and to decide how we want to proceed through our “daily routines” and motions. This is the exciting part – that each of us is our own artist and we get to call the shots, come what may.
To me, in the end, as long as you used your time the way you wanted to use your time (ex. to make lots of money, or spend time strengthening family ties, or travel the world, etc. etc. etc.) then there is no need to worry, and no need for regret – i.e. no need to live a life of “quiet desperation” that so many people fear. Make the most of the time you have here on the “big rock.” Enjoy it all. Life is a playground for you to enjoy, a battlefield for you to be strong on, and at vacation retreat to enjoy with loved ones. A chance to mentor, try, succeed, fail, try again, laugh, dance, sing and think.
The pursuit of that which is dear to you, and that which invokes your passions, and which allows you to enjoy each dropping of the sand grain in the hour glass of life, and treasuring each tick of the clock, to appreciate and indulge in each magical moment each day, without angst or anger, THAT is what matters. To have been here in your time, and done your thing to the fullest.
To live a life spent on your terms. Without concern for how others might perceive you, judge, or criticize you (they are choosing to spend their time criticizing as opposed to following their passions, unless of course for some strange reason this is their passion in life), and deciding not to take part or give in to the over-whelming feeling that you probably experience to “go with the flow” and be “real” and live in “reality” which is really nothing more than a general malaise calling you to “join the club.” Mediocrity loves company. See it for what it is and at least recognize it when it surfaces.
In short, to live boldly on your own terms. Be confident and adventurous, spend your time being awesome. That is a life worth living.
- Link to a nice page where people discuss their interpretations of the “time
- After you have taken an hour to review the comments above, watch this video. Think about the ways in which people spend their time, and how they may view the concept of time. The song itself plays in stages (from cavalier youngster, to wanting middle age, to looking back at what “might have been,” to regret and eventually to the end of the story – your story. Time is up. As they say:
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say
You can almost feel the heartbeat in the rhythm of the song and the burning internal desire to make something out of life. I love it. Ditch the desperation and find meaning in everything you do, even the little things that seem to have no meaning. The “half of page of scribbled lines” to me, is the dreamer who could never figure out how to become the “doer” and instead wound up with a half page of “todo” or “goals” that never had a chance of happening (that is the “quiet desperation” that Henry David Thoreau talked about). If you are inspired, start TODAY and set yourself free no matter how crazy that may seem. Mostly there is just fear and excuses in your path. Get around the obstacle course and get the job done.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Feel free to share it on your blog posts and social media networks. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the “time” to share my thoughts with whoever might be interested. If you are in a band, or do music for a living, we can help you with copyrighting your music, licensing, royalty disputes, contracts, right of publicity and other legal matters. We offer low flat rate fees for our artist brothers and sisters. Call (877) 276-5084.
– Attorney Steve –
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