To some, time represents a variable—one that can factor into an equation; Einstein famously conquered time in his Theory of Relativity, deducing time to a mere number that could be changed. We as a society are obsessed with the concept of time: one needs to look no further than the library or cinema to find scores of entertainment surrounding this topic (think of the novel 1984, or the Back to the Future movies). In fact, Nostradamus was made famous because of his perceived ability to break the laws of time and foretell the future. There is actually an entire industry devoted to this ability to ignore time to see into the future (i.e. psychics).
Whether or not you believe in people’s ability to see into future, time has been a key factor in my recovery and plays a role in everyone’s lives.
When I was in the hospital my physician told me, “Chris, you will recover, but you have to be patient, it will take time.” I realize now the truth behind his words. While therapy along with cognitive strengthening plays a vital role in my recovery, completing these serves to lessen the time spent ‘recovering’. Hidden amidst these aids to recovery is the secret variable of time. Now in my recovery, there were (and are) times when I would hang onto and rely on this intangible idea as an excuse not to participate in therapy or cognitive exercises; part of me is very rational using only scientific data to guide my decisions; yet another part of me is guided by instinct or ‘gut decisions’. The reason I tell you this is that my rationale for skipping a workout or therapy appointment exposes these two sides of my thinking: my ‘gut’ tells me that I’d improve regardless of the therapy and that time is all I need to recover; but luckily my rational side chimes in and tells me that time is only one underlying factor in my recovery—therapy and strengthening are also crucial to the process. Thus if you think about it like a mathematical equation, it would be something like this: therapy + cognitive strengthening + time = recovery. Every factor is vital to this equation: if you only relied on time to recover (ignoring therapy and cognitive exercises), then you would not get your desired outcome.
But this piece is not titled ‘Therapy’ or ‘Cognition,’ it is titled ‘Time’ because I want to discuss the role that it continues to play in my recovery. I hope you come to the realization in reading this that we all can learn lessons that time teaches us. A great man once told me that “yes, you can come to grips with the fact that time is key to this process, but what people sometimes don’t realize is that you have to give time time.” Sometimes we do not have patience to wait for time to take effect; when this happens our equation is incomplete and we cannot achieve our desired result.
If we’ve decided that time is one of the key variable in our equations, sitting passively on our hands and letting time pass only acknowledges one of the factors in our ‘equation’ while ignoring the others. All of the variables must work together for the equation to work. But in writing this, I know that the factor of time is often overlooked, making us frustrated when we do not get what we want. Just remember that it may take time, and that sometimes you have to wait for time.