Time as a Metaphor

So, in one of my English classes we are reading a book called Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. In chapter two of this book the authors begin to discuss the typical metaphors that dominate our language. In America it is especially noted that time is money. This phrase, in and of itself, is a pretty common one in America. However, I didn’t realize (until reading this chapter) just how dominant this metaphor is in our society. Here are some examples from the book:

You’re wasting my time.
I don’t have the time to give you.
How do you spend your time these days?
That flat tire cost me an hour.
You’re running out of time.
I’ve invested a lot of time in her.
He’s living on borrowed time.
How much time do you have left?

My professor was wondering if we could come up with some alternative metaphors for time and shared one of his own with us:

I was swinging in the hammock of time with my daughters this weekend.

Personally, I love this metaphor! It really makes us think of time as something relaxing, something we can swing into. Unlike some other cultures, Americans have the tendency to think of time as something that can be wasted. Something that is set out before us and must be used in a way that brings us profit—be it knowledge or money. If we are just sitting around, napping, watching TV or staring off into space thinking about the meaning of life we are not using our time wisely. I say, if something makes you happy then do it! Americans can’t relax because we are working all the time and are taught that relaxation is inherently wrong. It’s not! Why is happiness a waste? Perhaps this ideology is what is making so many of us so miserable. So, without further ado, I present you with my alternative time metaphors!

I was flowing through the ocean of time this weekend.
I was surfing the waves of time with my girlfriend.
He checked out from the library of time.
I am knitting time.
I am slipping stitches in the scarf of time.
I was eating from the sushi bar of time yesterday.
I am swirling around the fishbowl of time.

I know, some of those are rather odd. Coming up with alternative metaphors for time is not an easy task! So, readers, what metaphors can you come up with? Post your offbeat time metaphors in the comments section!

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3 Responses to Time as a Metaphor

  1. JennyH says:

    I’m picking strings on the bass of time with my my fiance.

  2. jon says:

    Americans are also obsessed with food.
    “That ate up an hour of my day!”

  3. JennyH says:

    Yeah, but here is another way to look at food and time. “I savored the time left with my grandfather.”

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