Time is an illusion. It’s a human notion constructed to make our messy lives a little bit more organized. Knowing what time it is can be helpful in some ways. For example, we are supposed to sleep during the late pms and early ams. With time it is easier to be on the same page when meeting up with others, when clocking in and out of work to collect a paycheck, and when tracking how long someone’s been alive. No wonder we live by it as if we haven’t molded it! Time is more than numbers on a clock, though. It’s an extensive span of moments, cycles, and seasons. The more I think about time in this sense, the more I wonder how time has affected our lives.
We need time because it helps us heal and grow. For example, when we break a bone, we keep it in a cast to give it time to heal. Getting over a situation or a person takes a while of distracting yourself with your responsibilities and joys, until one day you realize you haven’t thought about it in while. That comes with time and trust me, it’ll happen as long as you give yourself the space. Time will tell how strong your relationships, romantic or not, are. Nothing is created overnight. Forgiving someone who has wronged you means coming to terms with betrayal. Whether you think it is worth forgiveness or not comes with time. Learning who you are, what can you tolerate and what you believe in takes time. Anything that requires any sort of healing or growth comes with time; nothing changes overnight. Some things are a process. Some things you really do have to wait for.
Still, time harms us. It causes us to wait until we hit those major age marks, where we tell ourselves we can start dating, start driving, start college, start drinking, and rent a car. Then we wonder what it is that is supposed to come next. Some people feel so lost and unsatisfied that they enter midlife crises. It causes us to frequently think about what we will do next, instead of giving ourselves the space to look around and be content with where we are. It makes us feel as if we are too far behind socially, financially, academically, and career-wise, making some feel as if it is too late for them. The funny things is we never seem to worry about if we are moving too fast.
Time makes us move with a sense of urgency. We’re worrying if we can get it all done by the time expect, even though we fathomed this deadline from thin air. We stress over getting enough job and life experience, telling ourselves we will take a break when we’re dead. We forget that not everything we do has to have a justifiable reason other than the fact that we simply enjoy doing so.
Time is in short supply. I don’t think I’ve met anyone who can say with 100% sincerity and no hesitation that they have enough time in the day, or even their lifetime, to do all the things they want to do. People even have bucket lists to serve as a reminder of all the things they just have to do before they die. This is connected to how we prioritize the things in life. Because if you were to die tomorrow, I guarantee you would reevaluate how you spent your time today. As we focus a lot of our time on achieving our personal, academic, and career goals, we neglect all the things we say or think we want to do. We tell ourselves we don’t have enough time, and that we will get to it once the free time comes. And surprise!…it rarely does. When it does, it is short lived. Look at New Year resolutions. We create these at the end of the year as rules to live by for the next year and get sidetracked way before the sixth month mark comes. Why do we wait so long when deciding to better ourselves or try out a new hobby just to abandon them three months later?
I say it’s because more often than we think we use time as an excuse. We use it to avoid beginning or doing things we subconsciously are either too scared to do, don’t want to do or don’t know how to start. We prolong our distress by telling ourselves ‘time will tell’, or, ‘it’ll come with time’ as if time can really fix our problems. One example of this is when we give second chances to those who have wronged us or say we’ll give them a little extra time to see if anything has changed. It makes me wonder how many distresses in our lives could have been avoided or shortened by taking action instead of waiting for the “right” moment or seeing how things will turn out. But didn’t you just say time will tell? Well yes, in some situations, time will tell, but in others time won’t make a difference. Let’s say you need to have a serious conversation but have been putting it off. The conversation won’t change whether you have it today or tomorrow, it will still be had either way. Whether I work on this assignment today or tomorrow won’t change the fact it still has to be done. Not doing it just keeps it on the to do list, and keeps you anxious and stressed.
Also, consider time has already told you and you’re choosing to ignore all the signs. The outcome and the answers you are so desperately looking for are there in front of you but you’re too busy wearing your rose colored glasses to see those red flags waving. This leads me to actively take a step back from situations I’m skeptical about to look at the bigger picture. Things look different from up close; things look different with rose colored glasses. Our stubbornness, determination, fear, and hope prolongs circumstances that we don’t want to be in anymore, that we ultimately want to change. It makes us wait to go to the gym, or cut our hair, end or start a relationship, find a new job, read that book, or start to volunteer when there truly is no point in waiting or putting it off.
And think about what could be created by taking action instead of waiting! Time gives opportunity. “Good things come to those who wait,” promotes the virtue of patience. Though many things require patience, if you think about it this phrase taken out of the appropriate context really just keeps you where you are. Entrepreneurs and public speakers will tell you the same thing; they have told me. You can’t lose or gain weight without putting in work. You can’t learn to play piano or learn to speak Spanish without lessons. You can’t grow or change by waiting for your goals to happen to you—none of those wishes will just magically appear one day. You have to put in the planning, the effort, and the self-reflection. Few things come to you without you seeking them out first. Don’t let fear hold you back.
People fail to recognize that time is loosely another word for experience. The longer we live, the more we experience. Experiences bring lessons that can help us learn about others, ourselves, and the world. In some contexts, when people say “time will tell,” and,
“you’ll know with time,” it really means you need more experience to fully grasp the concept. And some experiences require work and dedication. Some you have to actively seek out in order to learn. Some you’ve already experienced but choose not to learn from. Waiting with time doesn’t have to literally mean waiting around in hopes something good will comes.
You see, time can be wasted. Procrastination (though entirely understandable) is just wasted time. We all know why we procrastinate assignments. They’re irritating and a lot of work and research that none of us want to think about. Assignments aren’t the only thing we procrastinate though. Overdue conversations, hobbies, exercising and bettering ones self are things we neglect, saying it’ll come with time, once you have time. Now if it’s something you don’t need or want to do, stop trying to convince yourself you want to. That’s an unneeded layer of stress and anxiety you put on yourself. If it’s something you really want to do but don’t think you have time for, write it down and come back to it when you have time. However, that thing people say about “making time for the things you really want,” is true. If it’s something that really interests you, you’ll make time for it even if it’s just once a year. I understand that life and your goals take up a lot of your day, but just think of the possibility that when you say you don’t have time you are really making an excuse. There’s nothing wrong with making excuses for unwanted experiences, as long as you own up to it. Again, if it’s something that would be cool to know or experience but you don’t actually want to do, stop pressuring yourself to do it. If it’s something you think you should do due to others expectations, stop pressuring yourself to do it. We’re are hard on ourselves as it is. No one needs that unnecessary added pressure.
When it comes to being unsure of how to start something you say you don’t have time for, you only need to know the first step or two, maybe even just have a rough idea. This is one of those circumstances where time will tell , but time will only lead you to an answer once you actually start the process. It’s like driving a car. The car won’t move until you put the key in the ignition and step on the gas. Until you put things into motion, you will be sitting there until you take some sort of action. Once you do, you start moving and the longer you keep your foot on the pedal, the more distance you travel. The more you drive the closer you get to your destination and the farther you get from where you were.
Time is valuable. The honest truth is that we don’t know how much time we have. We don’t know how much time those we love have. That’s why it’s important to say what you need to say, and do what you need to do before its too late. It’s important to remind those we love how we feel. It’s of the utmost important to make time for ourselves. Ensure our contentment. Do what we want to do and not do what we don’t. Don’t allow anyone to waste your time, including yourself. Its our biggest commodity.
It’s crazy how something seemingly so simple is so complex.On the one hand we need time; we would be so lost without it. But on the other we let something that doesn’t actually exist outside of human minds make our own lives complicated. Time does and means so many different things to different people. What matters is that it aids you instead of hinders you. That you feel like you’re using your time the way you want, and learning from the experiences.
See, I believe time’s an illusion, a human notion constructed to make our messy lives a little bit more organized. Time harms and accelerates us. Every once and a while time gives us answers, but more often than not, it doesn’t give you what you want to see or hear. We always use time as an excuse, whether valid or not. We waste our own time and we waste others. It holds us back and makes us anxious and fearful, though we don’t even know it. Yet, it’s probably the most valuable thing we have. Do what you will with it, but respect how fleeting it is.