I vividly recall being fourteen-years old, and having this mental image of a clock on my back. I could hear it ticking loudly, a constant alarm in my head that time was running out, that I was always “on the clock.” Sometimes I would picture myself in a room full of clocks, the old-fashioned circular ones, where you can hear the sound of ticking as each second passes by. Hundreds, and hundreds of clocks.
More than ten years later, I still feel this clock on my back. It doesn’t seem to have to do much with getting older, as I had this exact feeling in my youth. And as I continue to age, the feeling does not grow any more intensely, but remains the same.
At times it feels less like a circular clock, and more like an hourglass, other times a ticking time bomb that’s ready to explode any second. While many people take time for granted, I feel the opposite — that I am too painfully aware of what little time we have in this life. I constantly feel like I am moments away from death, that at any moment with the simple blink of an eye, it could all dissolve away, just like that.
It feels like I’m buying my time, like it’s a matter of time before I can no longer afford to keep going. Time, time, time is always on my mind. When will it run out? How much of it do I have left? At what moment will this time bomb explode?
I’m not sure if this feeling is normal or not. To me, it feels like the exact description of anxiety. This is what anxiety is — the constant fear of time. Trying to “beat the clock” which is a fight you will never win, and yet you keep on fighting. It’s constant “panic mode,” like your entire life is the final round of a gameshow — an endless “lightning round” until that buzzer finally goes off and it’s over.
Maybe this is the natural product of being alive. We all have limited time, and nobody knows how short or long that is, we just hope for as long as possible. But I wonder if it’s natural to be so hyper-aware of this on a daily basis or not.
What I know is that patience is so important. If I’m lucky enough to make it these next ten plus years, I’ll look back and wonder why I was in such a rush. There’s a lot of things in life that I wish I waited for, but I jumped into because I thought there might not be another chance. Because every now and then you do find yourself given a chance that never comes around again, and that’s what keeps you on your toes. How are you supposed to know if this chance will come back to you or not? It’s so easy to comfortably look back and say “I should waited for that, I should’ve had more patience” — and so difficult to look back and say “that was my one chance, and I missed it.” It’s nearly impossible to determine the difference between “having patience” and “taking it for granted.”
But ultimately, I think I would rather miss out on something because I had the faith that the future would bring me something so much better. And if that better thing never comes along, at least I’ll know I acted in faith instead of fear. So I pray for patience.