The passing of time — out of my control. Pass time — my choice of what to do. Pastime — something we hopefully enjoy.
If you search the word “pastime” in the Oxford English Dictionary, you find the etymology of the word and it’s early uses. Around 1473 provides the earliest recorded use of the word:
W. Caxton tr. R. Le Fèvre Recuyell Hist. Troye (1894) I. lf. 25v He made his passe time to haunte þe woddes & continuelli to hunte þe wild bestes in the forest wyth dame deane.
Note that the word is spelled “passe time,” connecting the passing of time and the choice of how we pass time even more.
Passive, the passage of time, or active, choosing how to pass time? Driven (we have to work to earn money to live) or chosen (we choose to write, perhaps feel compelled to write). The driven can also be a result of choosing in another area, such as choosing to marry and have children and the need to work increases because we are responsible for other human beings.
There’s also the question of pastime. In theory, it’s choosing a sport or some other activity we enjoy to pass the time. But how is that received? I love to sing, for example, and have belonged to choirs for 70+ years now. My son tells me “singing is an over-rated pastime.” Not received well, in that case. The implication is that we’re wasting time, but, to me, how can I “waste” time if I do something I enjoy.
There are those who suggest that writing presents the same problem. We don’t “need” to engage in creative writing. It’s a luxury. We should focus on STEM or something that’s “useful.” But studies are now emerging to validate the importance of singing and writing and painting and other arts as a way to develop as human beings, making us better at our choice of career, whether “chosen” or “pressured into” by circumstances or our parents or some other influence.
The passage of time — how it can lead us astray. So many possibilities and meanings. There are physicists who will tell you there’s no such thing as time. Perhaps that’s the key. If time doesn’t exist, it doesn’t pass and we are free to engage in whatever we choose.