I'm unable to comprehend the concept of time. Nor will I likely ever understand it, but boy, I sure try.
I am mystified by the subordinate complexities of this universe that we call our own. And of course I am, because I am but a tiny ant amidst an endless cycle of lives and routines.
But here's what I've concluded from my short 22 years of living: Life is a blur. Time is supposedly unchangeable, and yet it somehow remains insanely complex and wickedly unfixed. Supposedly, a minute is always 60 seconds, an hour is always 60 minutes, a day is always 24 hours, and so forth. And yet, time is elastic. It stretches and pulls in various directions, and a minute can feel as if it is the literal and tangible 60 seconds that it actually is, or, it can linger and seem to stretch long and far into eternity.
Again, I reiterate, I'm stumped by the idea of time; I don't understand it. I understand from a mathematical standpoint of how time works of course, but it's the "feeling" aspect of time that I remain unable to grasp.
And perhaps that's just it; one literally cannot "grasp" time. It's slippery and passes at various speeds depending on the people and environment that we are experiencing. When we are happy and surrounded by individuals who either intrigue or relax us the time seems to flow effortlessly, while at other times we find ourselves in situations that the opposite is also true. We may participate in an activity that either bores, exhausts, or stumps us, with people with the potential to cause us to feel nothing short of restless, and thus for some reason we feel it necessary to constantly steel glances at a seemingly motionless clock.
And what I wonder is, does time go so so very quickly because I fail to stop, breathe, reflect, and pay enough attention to the world around me? Do I not give my ever-changing environments the attention that they deserve?
*Side note: I realize that I often write about the busyness of life and the need to be still which is "still" a lot easier concept than a reality (hah, catch that?). But I've also realized the reason I write so much about stillness is because it's a message than I constantly need to tell myself. I write about being still because it is a reminder that I need daily because I'm just that bad at actually doing it, the passive act of doing nothing.
Anyway, back to what I was saying.
Aside from trying to understand the speed of time, I find myself mystified by the current life period I am in and how I came to be where I'm at. Sometimes I feel as if I'm in a time warp and have become numb to the changing times, and instead feel as if I'm stuck at the age of approximately 19.
On Friday I finished my third summer working at Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Montana (FYI one of my favorite places on earth). However, despite it being another incredible summer in the west, half way through June it hit me that I was one of the oldest counselors on staff. Upon realizing this I couldn't help but think, "Well what the heck, how did that happen? Reyna ya old fart! Two years ago you were just a baby on this staff!" (Which was obviously said word for word just like that in my mind. Obviously.)
And yet that's life: it guarantees change. And change happens often too quickly and before we think we're ready. Change is the one constant in life, (aside from the pace of time and God perhaps), but then again, God arguably embraces change and the idea of time.
And yet, when I look back at the summer it is a total blur. Did it happen? Well, duh, yes of course it did. But without the time to properly process from one week to the next and one transition to the next... yeah. It is only now that I think I'm finally starting to fully process.
And yet, regardless of the pace and the illusion of where we feel we are at in this wicked landscape of time, if there is anything about time that I can actually make sense of, than this is it:
We must make at least some of our minutes count.
Perhaps not all (that is arguably impossible), but to have a goal of making a good chunk of them count. Now that would be quite the accomplishment.
How do we "make them count"? We invest in people, in creativity, in hobbies and work worth pursuing. We participate in activities that stimulate us, rather than limit us. We take time to dream, and we dream BIG. And we act. We are creatures of doing rather than beings intended to sit on our butts for half of our lives. We are intentional with our actions, and they are actions that are kind. We surround ourselves with individuals who inspire us and who we want to become more like. We stop wasting time over what others think. We take moments to read worthwhile material and are always learning. We explore and intentionally wander in order to be exposed to new faces and ideas. We are curious about others and the world around us. We make it a habit to refocus our minds on others rather than ourselves.
And while we choose to focus on others we also make the necessary time for ourselves, the time to be still and process our human experiences.
Finally, we remain in the present moment; we don't waste our precious moments dwelling in the past or anticipating the future. I can promise you that the past has happened and the future is coming, and there is nothing that we can change about those facts.
As the wise turtle Master Oogway from the Dreamworks film Kung Fu Panda puts it: "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, which is why it is called the present."
Good stuff. I'm a quote hoarder and I especially love this one. Oogway sums it up fantastically in those few sentences.
Engage in the present. Embrace it wholeheartedly. Time will continue to pass at unfixed rates and the future is most certainly coming and passing all too quickly. Changes and transitions are imminent, whether you're expecting them or not. Be thankful for the time and moments you have the opportunity to be in now, and continue to love on and actively live with those who surround you. Along with change, God, and time, the other imminent truth in this world is the need for love. As cliché as it may sound, give love. Breathe love. Walk love. And receive it in turn.
Happy transitioning :)
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.