It’s one of those concepts that we can never really quantify. I mean, we can in the sense that an hour is 60 minutes, made up 60 seconds, 60 times. But our awareness of time can be warped. Although time stays consistent, never changing, our perception of it can completely alter our experience, just like our experience can completely alter the concept of time itself.
Bear with me.
Have you ever been in a situation where time seems to stall? You might be waiting for some important news or leading up to an anticipated event. On the other hand, there’s incidences where situations go past like the blink of an eye. Nothing has actually changed about the time itself but how we feel and experience events within it can entirely change how fast we feel it goes past. I feel like this about the last ten years of my life.
I’ve lived a lot of my life based on calculated, conscious decision making. I’m not what you would necessarily call ‘spontaneous’. I can have moments of spontaneity but for the most part, my actions are thought out. What job will take me to the next step in my career, should I go out tonight, is it worth taking that risk, should I be with that person (or not). I like structure, routine and knowing where I’m going next. The most impulsive risk I have taken in my life was moving to Melbourne and that turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made for myself. Go figure.
A lot of this stems down to having a need to feel in control of my life and more specifically, the outcomes. I find it really hard to talk about my feelings, especially if there’s a chance that they could hurt someone else’s. One word that epitomises how I am with this is guarded. This is why I find solace in writing. Often, I write without publishing because I write about things that make me vulnerable, providing a glimpse into my ‘weaknesses’, or the places within me that I don’t really share. And I greatly dislike feeling vulnerable. I have spent a lot of my life doing things to keep the peace, avoiding conflict and putting other people’s needs and feelings above my own. I find it really hard to share my own emotions but am always the first one around to celebrate & validate others. Hypocritical, I know.
Time (and all of this), is something that I have been thinking about a lot recently. Nearing my 27th birthday, I think back on the last decade and cannot believe how fast is has flown by. I still feel like I’m in high school in some respects but in others, so much has changed. I have achieved so much in the last ten years, milestones that i don’t know if I’ve let myself truly feel proud, accomplished and satisfied. So if we’re not careful, we can live our whole lives thinking that we will always have more time to do the things we want, see the things we want to see, be with the people we want to be with, travel to those places, have fun later, and always progress to the next thing.
If I’m honest, I’m a little scared that the next 10 years are going to go by just as fast as the last 10 have gone. I’ve been questioning myself recently if I’m living my life authentically and for myself. I’ve questioned whether I’ve made decisions and stuck with things as long as I have because I’m afraid of making changes or being regretful. I’ve been left wondering whether I’m selling myself short on growth because I take the safe option a lot of the time and avoid vulnerability. I’m a committed person and often I feel like changing my mind or going down a different path means I haven’t tried hard enough to make it work. Like I’m quitting. But how long can we push something so far up a hill before it crumbles on top of us?
I like to feel secure and I don’t think that’s a bad thing but sometimes, everything you have been looking for is outside of this safe zone. Sometimes, to live a fulfilling life bursting at the seams, you need to take those shots, listen to your intuition and stop thinking as much about what follows. Sometimes, the beautiful thing about life is learning as you go, taking the risk and seeing how it pans out. If it doesn’t work out, time heals everything.
I look at people who have succeeded by taking risks and often ask myself, if I was in their shoes, would I have jumped? And the answer, quite honestly, is probably not. I’ve been so scared to take risks or make changes because it might leave me in a worse position, because I don’t want to go backwards or realise after the fact that it was better before. But is taking risks and learning from them really going backwards?
From year 27 on, I am going to make a conscious effort to take more risks, make decisions that make me happy, not because on paper it seems like the right thing to do, try not to think so much about repercussions of the decisions I make and be more open about how I feel. I need to allow myself to let my guard down and have conversations that might be hard initially but provide so much reward and growth later, because I’ll be standing up for my life and myself. I have this overwhelming feeling that I have more in me, I have more to offer and I have more I can achieve than I’m currently not letting myself. Being calculated and reserved has its place, but not when its’ stopping you from doing things that can make you happy and connecting you with opportunities. And one of the main goals in life is to be happy, grow and learn, is it not?
If you’re in the same boat as me, let’s do this together. The time we have in this life is short & then it’s over. Take the risk on the relationship, job, investment, travel – cut the people who aren’t conducive to you, stop banging your head against the wall with that dead-end job with no end-game of getting out, stop putting off all of your passion projects for ‘tomorrow’, tell someone how you feel, stand up for yourself even if it might cause short term discomfort. Because in the aspect of time, tomorrow will never come and then you’ll look back and would have used up all of the tomorrow’s you were given. And I don’t want to get through the next decade and wish I had started taking chances and expressing more, today.