Time Passes Differently When You’re Older
Here we are in January 2020. Somehow, we reached the end of the 2010s and are going headfirst into the unknown of the 2020s. What does it mean for time to pass? Has it really been this many years? What have I really done in the past decade that was worthwhile? Was it anything I could be proud of? Or am I simply looking back on what I should have done and what I have yet to do, having wasted all this time?
As a child, I hardly looked at the clock unless I wanted the long school day to be over. The entity of time didn’t seem to have powerful hands tilting my head in whatever direction it wanted. No, I was free from that particular burden.
That is, until I became an adult and my perception of life and living changed.
Often, I find myself constantly contemplating the past, reminiscing on better times than the present, holding on to something that will never come to pass again. I should be looking at the future, crafting the present, and living to the fullest and all of that. Call it lack of motivation or simply childishness, but the fact remains that I cannot seem to let go of a faraway past.
I have my mother to thank for my childhood being something I can look back on with happiness and longing. I was able to lose myself in a world of stories and poetry, in books and movies. I was able to be myself and I sometimes miss the days of being a carefree child. There were no bills, no crucial decisions, no grand responsibilities, and even my overthinking was less harsh. Time seemed to pass differently, almost freely. Now, I feel it whizzing by as I stay huddled in the corner of my mind, afraid to step out of my securely made comfort zone, which I realize now is both a shield as well as a cage.
In 2010, I graduated high school, luckily on time, despite the many health problems that swooped in unexpectedly. Since then, however, my late teens and early to mid-twenties have been showered with confusion, frustration, and oftentimes, complete and utter loneliness. Like many other college students, I struggled financially, took too long to come to important decisions, feared almost every step of the way and, still haven’t accomplished the feat of moving out of my mother’s house.
I now glance at the clock frequently, anxious about how much time is left of the day for me to get to any of my writing or music. Time passes faster as an adult. I’m 17, not quite knowing what it means to be a high school graduate and if I made the right choice in going to community college. Fast forward and I’m 21, still in community college. Wasn’t this supposed to take only two years?
Midway through the decade, I was the young-old age of 23, had finally completed community college after 3 ½ years, but still hadn’t done anything at all in the way of accomplishing my aspirations as a writer. I was going through the motions, fighting unhappiness but not fighting it well. All this, because of my perception and fear of time. I graded myself on how much I hadn’t done at a particular age, comparing myself to other, more successful people.
And now I’m 27. How? How am I this age when I can’t even remember all the events that led here? Where did all that time go? Perhaps this is why I’m obsessed with recording the dates on everything I write, keeping a record of important events so I don’t lose them in the jumble of all this rapid movement.
I think time moves faster as we get older because a lot of us aren’t doing what we want to do with that time. When I’m at work, I’m waiting impatiently to get home and write or play music on my piano/keyboard. And when it’s a particularly long shift, it’s difficult not to think of it as time wasted when I feel unfulfilled by the end of it and the sun has set on the day. We have one life, yet we spend the bulk of it not fulfilling our dreams. I still haven’t done much in the way of writing, still grading myself on this impossible scale of perfection when no one is perfect and shouldn’t aspire to be.
It took a while for me to realize the time I’ve wasted making the goals I did achieve seem small. It’s possible to break this routine, to finally decide enough time has been wasted, and that’s why I’ve decided not to spend the 2020s wishing I could do this or do that. If I want to write for a living, I will work my absolute hardest to make this a reality. If I want to leave the place I’ve lived in for the last 15 years and go someplace new, I will make this reality. No more waiting. No more perceiving time as a burden. It’s a sea of hours, endless minutes and seconds, to fight to accomplish those long-buried dreams.
I now understand that nothing can happen unless I make it happen. I have at least published two articles in a local magazine, graduated university, and finally got a car after a decade of waiting. Things have been accomplished, not at the pace nor the way I would have liked, but I’ve learned that it’s not what you did or didn’t do. It’s what you’ve learned while you attempted to strive to become something better, to become the best you that you were always meant to be.
Originally published at https://jordanthedreamer.com on January 12, 2020.