I have been 32 years old for a week.
One week, 12 hours and 21 minutes to be precise; and I have been alive and in existence on this planet for 32 years, 12 hours, and 21 minutes exactly.
I do not have a second hand on the clock on my laptop and so cannot pinpoint further, although in all honesty I don’t know if I want to. The seconds are ticking past even as I write these words, and the exact amount of time that I have been alive has already altered from the instance that I wrote the title for this post, to now– the present second, as I type these words and watch them dutifully appear on the screen i front of me.
Tick, tick, tick…
It’s now 32 years, 12 hours, and 25 minutes.
I am not entirely sure how I feel about this; about this slow decay in the finite amount of time I have stored up. I imagine it siting in some fateful dimension, waiting and depleting, waiting and depleting- it’s sole purpose being to provide me with a future. Yet with each minute that passes this potential is decreased further, bringing me closer to the point at which my time stops completely.
It is absolutely bone-chillingly terrifying when thought about like this. Which is why I usually avoid thinking about time in two intense a fashion! I think, however, that turning 32 is making me contemplative.
Some one WordPress recently ribbed me when I said that “it hadn’t been too long since I last studied at Uni.” When I actually thought about it, I worked out it had been seven years. Seven years: I realised that this was quite a significant amount of time, and the implications of that hit me harder than I think I expected them to.
I think this was the first time I have been aware of the amount of time I have spent breathing, and the amount of experience I have accrued over thirty two years; experience that has been very good- but also rather bad.
I thought I’d write a post on this ‘once in a lifetime event’, and I planned it to be a fairly lighthearted affair. However my thoughts so far indicate that something else is trying to get out of me, and so this post might be a little bit heavier than I had originally intended: it might not be the article I planned for it to be.
I am altering my intention for the future by looking to my past; my present second morphs and twists continuously, disappearing in the moment I try and capture it.
Time passes. There isn’t anything any of us can do to change that, and so worrying about it on any level simply isn’t worthwhile.
This is the line I have always towed. Seasons change, the party in power switches again and again, and I watch the wrinkles on my hands deepen, and know that this is simply the way things are, fretting and stressing over it isn’t worth the trouble.
Or is it?
I know a lot of people who work at making sure their time is used wisely, and at ensuring they don’t waste time. This drives them, and shapes their behaviour, decision making and thinking. A lot of my friends have stopped drinking so much, because they resent wasting a day lying around in their PJ’s nursing a hangover.
Other people work to make friends with people in their work-industry because, as they say, “if I can spend time with friends and network as the same time I’m killing two birds with one stone; I’m making the best use of my time as is possible.”
I think this is wise and prudent (to an extent, obviously): making good use of the time we have been given is so very important.
However I do struggle to live this way myself. When people say “I feel as though I’ve wasted a day,” it always causes me to feel conflicted. For me, considering whether or not I will spend the next hour or day well, and meaningfully, always leads into a contemplation of whether I have spent the time I’d already lived well.. and at that point I’ve historically run into problems.
I have spent the last eleven years recovering from chronic mental illness. This is obviously not all I have been doing in this time; but is probably the main overarching arc in the plot of my life so far.
For me, there are a lot of bleak periods which cause me to wonder whether or not I’ve spent my time well. I sometimes think, if i’d just said no to drugs, or chosen to go to college rather than stay on at sixth form, my life might have been a hell of a lot easier.
I would worry about the way in which I had spent the time of my life so far: when you are living in a residential home, and your main pleasure in life is the pizza hut dinner you order for yourself in the evening; things seem fairly bleak.
It would seem as though my faulty decisions had led to much of my time being filled up negatively; with pain and suffering. If I had lived differently, I might have been more contented, and everything might not have been so dam hard all the time!
(Continued in section 2… because this post got really long!)