The Trouble with Time

Time has this funny way of inching by at the speed of light. It’s ironic, really. One second you’re longing for the never-ending week to reach Friday and the next you’re realizing that an entire 6 months have passed.

My time abroad has been no exception to this oxymoron.

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September, tearful goodbyes, boarding the plane alone, and arriving to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok wasn’t that long ago. In one sense it seems like it was only last week that I was working on my TESOL certification with 100 friends from across the world. Getting a grasp on lesson plans and learning more about my new found friends was only yesterday.

And yet at the same time I feel like I’ve been gone forever. My routine and familiarities at home aren’t at the forefront of my mind anymore. I’m no longer walking to the driver’s seat instead of the passenger’s. I’m not overwhelmed when I’m surrounded by conversations I can’t understand. And I’m no stranger to the many differences between eastern and western culture. (Time is so crazy that since writing this post, I’ve already managed to settle into my new routine in Australia.)

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This isn’t to say that I fully adjusted to life in Southeast Asia–I’m far, far from that still. I certainly haven’t adjusted to the crazy heat of winters or the rice diet. And I never go a day without missing my people at home.

Instead, what I’m trying to articulate is that as daunting as a year sounds, it’s really only a year. And it’s stunning how quickly it can slip by without you realizing.

Some days I can’t wait for my head to hit the pillow and other days I’m afraid that when I go to sleep I’ll wake up and be 80 years old.

Time is an extremely, sometimes frustrating and agonizing, beautiful and meaningful gift when you consider the memories, experiences, and friendships that can be made during our short and long time here on earth.

Whether it’s just one more day or another 100 years, we should embrace our time. Don’t sit at a job you don’t like. Don’t spend time with people who don’t make you a better person. Don’t feel bad for not following someone else’s plan. Your time and their time are two very different things.

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Most importantly: don’t let the time you think you have get away from you, because we never truly know when the clock will run out.

I like to think that I’ve got a lot left, but if tomorrow I do wake up as an 80 year old woman, I know I’ll be able to look back and smile. And for that–ironies, challenges, the good, the bad, the ugly–I’m grateful.

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