I think we all struggle with time in one way or another. We have clocks and the sun to remind us of it’s passing and a want of more, unless you’re trapped in your head.
There have been times in my life when I have willed time away and asked for things to hurry up because the burden of waiting for the passing of time was too much. These were the times in my life when I felt most lonely and out of touch with other humans, further isolating myself. However, it was also during these times when I can identify peaks in my creative being.
Living alone in graduate school with a boyfriend hundreds of miles away and no friends meant time on the weekends to sit and reflect. I had no distractions during the week other than a part time job, so I didn’t especially need the time on the weekends for accomplishing school work. During this time I sat listening to my breath, reading, taking photos, and writing letters (yes, by hand and pen) to my distant love. Those were my creative outlets.
However, time was also uncomfortable and left me anxious. I remember laying on my living room floor and looking out the window to the vacant park across the street and a small graveyard just beyond that. I contemplated my purpose and let my mind wander. Things can get dangerous at this point. Have you ever sat and let your mind float untethered?
In these times my thoughts often became self destructive. I craved a routine that would take me through this slowness of time that could guarantee my arrival on the other side unharmed. Unfortunately some of my attempts at ritualizing this time included self injury or over exercising or ruminations of the future. Those were my avenues of crazy. Sometimes I would be really restrictive and controlling of certain behaviors that made me feel satisfied and accomplished. Occasionally I wandered the streets taking photos of small details that I made bigger by focusing on them with my camera. I listened to music that resonated with my angst and journaled about walking in this darkness.
I didn’t speak with my family much, other than my sister closest in age, who was also in college. We connected more positively in those years than in the times when we threw daggers at each other sharing a bedroom for 18 years of our lives. She helped a lot. I don’t know that I was completely forthcoming to her about the devils of my time, but I did share enough to ignite her concern and support. Visiting her became one of my favorite activities. Her college life was much different than my own. I was a voyeur into her day to day going-ons, providing a hook into a more mellow ticking of time.
I am now over a decade removed from living alone and college humdrum and have a husband and family of my own. Time became different when I began living with another human being that brought life to my days and always a wanting of more time to spend together. When our children came into the world time again took on another life. While they were infants, time was a scheduler of feedings, sleep, play, repeat. Time revolved on that loop over and over again for years as we added a total of 3 children to the mix. As they’ve grown, I see time passing by their growth. How can they do that now? When did all this growth happen? Time was silent in the background, drawing no attention to itself as we sprinted through our days on no solid sleep, only the sun distinguishing day from night. Eventually, in time, we came to have schedules for school, activities, and bedtime, repeat.
Growing acceptance and appreciation
In this time of my life, my children are self-sufficient, for the most part, and require much less of me. In stepping back more and more I allow them the freedom to figure things out while I steal time away for some silence to let my thoughts become creative for the necessity of my soul. I love my husband and my children very much, but we benefit from our time apart to discover ourselves. Writing now, something I have not done creatively for many years along with exploring photography, are ways I show appreciation to time.
While there continues to be time sucked in by anxiety and discomfort, I have more and more become a friend with time. I purposefully schedule my time to include both necessary activities, but also downtime to sit with intention. Meditation is a large part of my sitting time now as well as planning out my creative callings. I feel more in sync with the energy of the universe now than ever before. Time is not something I have any control over. It will continue to be there and someday I will not. It is simply a side by side companion that I check in to throughout the day to guide me. I do not harbor resentful feelings to its passing or want more than what is. One moment, one minute, one hour, one day at a time, repeat.
How has time influenced your life and in what ways have you seen that influence change over time?