Deadlines and Time: An Origin Story

I find journaling in the morning the best way to start my day. That’s a thread all its own. Today, I found myself musing on time.

We’re up against multiple looming deadlines with The Lunar Light launch next month. There are permits, parties, and purchasing dates that require all kinds of lists and communication.

This morning, I wanted time to slow down as I thought through the massive to do lists. I also want to read, finish my master’s thesis, take a long walk, take a bath, have a leisurely breakfast.

Alas, I have to choose. Why?


Did you know we didn’t use this word to mean a time perimeter until 1920? It was a term first used during the Civil War to indicate a line at a prison that, if crossed, a guard would kill the person. It fell out of use shortly thereafter.

Then, the publishing industry brought it back to indicatethe area on a page that the printing press didn’t work beyond. No words made it past the deadline.

Finally, a few years after the first mention of a physical deadline in publishing, the publishers began using it metaphorically. Nothing would make it into the paper if it wasn’t submitted by a certain time, yet another “deadline”.

This line of curiosity might just keep me from hitting a deadline or two, but there’s little chance of it ending the way it used to for Civil War prisoners.

Can you imagine a world without clocks? Without timed activities? When we think about all the technological advances that exist today, would any of them exist without Newton’s and other scientists’ fascination with time? Throughout most of the 18th century, if you wanted to count seconds, chances are you'd have to find a special scinetific clock to help you. Newton used pendulums, a technology pioneered by Galileo.

Can you imagine a day where you don’t think about time? Is that even possible?

I could go on, but it’s time for me to float back through space and time, to the present, so I can look at some permit applications.