I think we always need to be humble about our knowledge of what is real and what we have defined as real. Sometimes, all we have to go on are the effects, not the thing itself, so as we describe em fields by their forces on other things, we describe time more often by what isn’t happening (the empty interval between events). We assume that a change in intervals is a change in time as it is in spatial dimensions between measurements, since the math works better that way. I for one am glad that Nature doesn’t always take the simplest route. If it did, we would be bored.