Never Enough Time

“I have a theory for why time seems to speed up the older we get,” says Felix. We’re sitting in a little coffee shop. It’s charming. Cozy. It owes nothing to Starbucks. Felix and I are drinking some random house-special concoctions; this is before we became wary of putting sugar in our bodies.

I take a sip, savoring the warmth of the cup in my hands. “Okay, so what’s the theory?”

He drums his fingers on the table while he considers how to word his ideas. Felix is one of my oldest friends. I’ve watched him evolve during the last decade and a half. He was a gamer when we met. And a metal fan. He still is. He’s picked up ink over the years; his arms are covered. He’s introduced me to many bands. I am grateful for that. I wonder about myself and what Felix sees. How I’ve evolved in his eyes. What I started out being that I still am, and the bits I’ve picked up along the way. My own version of tattoos.

Felix is saying something, and I pull away from my wandering thoughts to listen: “So, when you’re a kid, everything is new because you haven’t experienced a lot yet. You have nothing to compare it to. You’re more likely to remember things. Your days feel fuller. When you’re an adult, you fall into a routine. Work, spending time with family or a partner, taking care of pets, seeing friends when you can. Some hobbies. Work’s the big thing because for most of us it’s Monday through Friday. That’s five days of similar things. Your brain sort of puts it all together in one pile. That’s why time feels like it passes so quickly.”

I nodded. It makes sense. I knew the brain was wired to find patterns and streamline processes. “I feel like I never have enough time lately.”

Felix picks up his own cup. His heavy rings clink together. “Yeah, same.”

It’s been haunting me, this feeling of not enough time. Yes, to be morbid, technically I’m dying every day. We all are. It goes deeper than that. I carve out time for myself selfishly. Whenever I can. I haven’t been active much on this website because I spent the last week and a half pounding out a respectably long short (ha!) story. I’d finish my workday. Swap my professional laptop for my personal one. Write for at least two hours, with a break to eat in the middle. By the time I was done, there’d be a narrow window to do my regular bedtime routine, maybe read before falling asleep. I fell behind on my podcast episodes (and I only follow a handful). I paused assembling my latest jigsaw puzzle. Cross-stitch? Forget it. I packed the supplies away.

Sometimes I get frustrated. “I have too many interests. If I didn’t have this job, I would be able to get so much more done in a day.” (And not be able to pay my bills, of course.) But that’s just an excuse and I know it. I’ve been writing even with a full-time job. It isn’t lack of hours that’s the problem. It’s finding the willingness to sacrifice. To tell my puzzles and crafts that I’ll get to them soon. To let my paints wait in their tubes. To deliberately not pick up more hobbies when I’m in the middle of something important. To decide what matters and weave it into the fabric of my life next to my obligations.

I can’t make time stop, or bargain for more. Rewinding time would only recycle what I’ve already had. But I can choose. Because I am not being forced to write. I get to write. I write because I love it, because when I sit down and put words to paper (or screen) and they flow out, I feel at peace. Like I’m showing up in the world precisely the way I’m meant to. And when I think of it in those terms, is it really such a sacrifice?

One Comment

  • Lucky Number Eleven

    I know well the feeling that time is slipping away. It’s one of those funny things that the more I think about it, the worse it seems to get. The only trick I’ve learned to help is to slow down myself. Time seems to comply with my intention. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Your mileage may vary.


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