I’m thankful for a lot of things today, for my friends, my family, my fellow ambassadors, and my friends and fellow ambassadors who are already like family. Then I’m thankful for more things, things I can’t yet say here that I’m thankful for but am thankful for nonetheless, though of all these things, and above all these things, today I’m thankful for something else. Something we can hold onto but never touch, something we can have but never keep, something we can live off of but in the end die from.
5. I’m thankful for Time.
Today it began with a text. I’m not a big fan of texting; with only ten keys, it’s not comfortable and it’s not fast. But I am a big fan of the people I text most, and it was one such stream of texts today with a good friend that first got me thinking.
Her [in medias res]: Given books with good renditions of history, I’d love it more. I just forget to look for such books.
Me: As do I, though with too little time even if I could remember.
Her: Time. If there were more of it, though, would it truly help, or would we continue to have always not quite enough?
Me: We would never have more time. We would only continue to commit to more. Just look at history and technology.
Her: Indeed so. It’s a pity, the way we never quite find time truly within our grasp. But probably a good thing.
Me: Perhaps it just means we need to better use the time we have.
Her: Yes. If we weren’t ever-distracted by technology or had a better system of prioritising things, we’d probably have enough time to get done what’s need.
Me: Time is meant to be precious. It wouldn’t be if we had anymore than we already have now.
Her: True. Each second lived is also one lost, and all. But time could still be used more efficiently, while still being precious.
Me: Of course, love. That’s our challenge, our task, to make the most of our time, of all things really. To live life alive, you could say.
To live life alive, or to live life at all, means developing from nothing into something into something older into something dead. A couple short weeks ago we covered developmental psychology in my class this semester, and quite frankly, it was depressing. Reading about growing older made me think how old I am; reading about life expectancy made me realise I’ve already lived a fourth of my life to no great amount; and one of my classmates mistaking me for eight years older than I am made it no better, if worse yet still when a closer friend agreed by two years less than she. Reading about memory deterioration, Alzheimer’s, dementia…. Forgetting life. Forgetting living. Losing it all, becoming an empty husk.
If in a blink of the universe’s eyes we’re gone, why do we bother to remain?
For those following my Super story, you’ll probably recognise some familiar feelings as they appeared spoken in part nine. Sometimes, I suppose, my characters rub off on me; other times, it’s the other way around. Here, it’s hard to tell. Either way, it draws me back to the first day of my psych class, when my teacher said all anger can be reduced to fear: It’s angering to grow old, because I’m afraid of what growing old means to me. Some of the oldest people I know are those I admire most–and it’s those that I hope to be like, when I get there. They’ll be gone by then, and that angers me too: I’m afraid of losing my role models, losing the inspiration they have given and continue to give me all the time I see them, a smile on my face every surprise encounter there is.
It’s fear beneath anger; it’s fear of change that makes us angry at time.
But it’s also the absence of time that reminds us how much it’s worth, when we slow down long enough to realise it.
I mentioned texting earlier, and I intend to get back to that. There have only truly been three people in my life that I text regularly, almost religiously, although I won’t say whom, although if any of you are reading this, you’ll know you’re one of them. Of them, one I’ve not had the pleasure of texting in quite some months; the other two, however, have kept my thumbs sore all day, and of them, one all week. It’s enlightening and heartening, feeling that vibration in my pocket, feeling that smile of love and friendship swelling up inside me even before I reach for my phone to answer the text. And this weekend, I won’t have that.
I could inject a handful of tangents here. I won’t.
I’ll be at an Honors event this weekend, and with that, I won’t have the time to text as much as I wish I could with these two close friends of mine. It’s angering, in that it’s saddening, in that I’m afraid without text, we’ll lose touch. For forty-eight hours it’s an unfounded fear, but irrationality is the prime of emotion, and its from whence this fear has come. So in these last seconds before I leave, I’m savoring ever more deeply the time I have with my friends, with my family as they are, if not by the blood of my body, then by the blood of my heart.
Sure, there will be times to come when I hate time (when I’m afraid I don’t have enough) and when I’ll rush around and wish for more (afraid I’ve got none left), but hopefully I’ll have the strength then to recall this moment and to slow down long enough to see what it’s all worth, to give my time to those who matter most, to the ones I love the most. That truly will be a gift greater than time itself.