November brought in a few scattered thoughts about time.
The older I’m getting, the more I want to become aware of the passage of time.
You see, it was hard to tell how much time passed during quarantine. Everything seemed the same. Sometimes you can only tell how much time has passed when you look at the recent newborns running around and speaking full sentences. Or when you start to see snowfall at the base of the tree that’s still decorated with its vibrant autumn shades one more time.
Amongst all the deadlines and goal chasing, get-togethers and celebrations, it can be hard to realize that as time is passing we’re getting older too. And getting older means having less and less time before we see our final fall. Morbid, I know. But I find it concerning how one day can feel so similar to the next. And how easy I find it to believe that every tomorrow is guaranteed. I just keep going.
To some extent, it seems like a good idea to be a little aloof. You don’t want to get paralyzed in fear of an impending end to the point that you forget to fully live and enjoy life, to the point where you’re so unsure of tomorrow that you never set long-term goals for yourself. What if you do end up living long? Life is short but it is also long, simultaneously.
So, the new year is approaching. We saw the fall colours get replaced by snowy roads and chilly airs. I used to get stressed about not reaching some self-imposed goals and tried to set too many for the new year. These days I feel grateful to just be alive. If COVID-19 taught us one thing, it’s that life is precarious. We’ve got to grab onto it and cherish it.
A lot of time gets spent being sad or mad about things that you can’t control or being stuck in an environment that limits you. Sometimes you can’t help but feel like that. Or not valuing yourself, your opportunities, your loved ones, or the places you get to see like you can.
It also concerns me how easy it is to lose hundreds of hours online doing things that have no positive lasting impact, like scrolling through addictive YouTube shorts. I wonder what life could’ve looked like for our generation if there were more regulations for these things, or had different defaults.
Maybe there are ways to spend our time today that won’t leave us regretful later like balancing our goals and relationships. Perhaps, not working so hard that you’re successful but empty inside, and not investing so much time in relationships that if people chose to walk away, you would have nothing built up for your own self.
In one month it will be 2023. I have a vague memory of watching a teacher go up to the blackboard and change 2003 to 2004, (or was it 2005 to 2006?). And the memories of accidentally writing 2018 in notes instead of 2019.
No matter how nerve-wracking all of this sounds, I think that becoming aware of the passing of time is one of the cooler features of growing up. With the awareness of time, instead of wasting away your life doing things you don’t believe in, aimlessly moving from one project or relationship to another that you don’t find meaningful, you can cut through the noise and focus on things that will have a compound effect and shape your future. That clarity seems worth it.