Wasted Time?

close up of a clock

Life is filled with time... so why do we feel like we are constantly running out of it?

Most of the past few years of my life have been relatively normal (despite the pandemic obviously!) but every so often, this vague sense of pressure accompanies me and it’s all to do with time. Occasionally, it feels like we all have little ticking time bombs floating above our heads and they are whispering that we must make certain accomplishments by a certain point in time. And judging by the countless comments on the Youtube video for the song that perfectly encompasses this feeling of fleeting teenage time, Lorde’s ‘Ribs’, I know I’m not alone in this feeling. 

Many of us feel forced into spending our teenage years exactly the way we see them portrayed by the media and movies or else we are simply wasting what some call ‘the best years of your lives!’. The problem is that this is not a practical option for the majority. There is no way that every single person between the ages of 13 and 18 can live out their teenage years in the same way that the media says that we do, whether it’s because of money or location or friendships. And with this accompanies a feeling of guilt that we are living our lives in the wrong way. I have and still do experience this emotion from time to time. It perches itself upon my shoulders, surveying my daily activities, trying to deem them as ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’. Sometimes a single thought plagues my mind: ‘I’ve wasted so much time. Time with people and time with the world.’ 

Despite this feeling, I think it’s important to remember that there is not a single perfect way for life to be experienced and I believe that every experience we have is just as important as the next in making up a life. The truth is that not everyone finds the perfect friend group; or relationship; or hobby or whatever else it might be, during adolescence, but perhaps that is all part of growing up. With growing comes growing pains and while they hurt at the time, we ultimately gain something from them. I do not personally feel that I have had ‘the best years of my life’ as a teen, but I do think that all of the experiences that I have had as a teenager have helped shape me into the person that I am today and therefore, I don’t regret the time that I have ‘wasted’ doing simple things I enjoy. Plus, sometimes time is ‘wasted’ through circumstances that we can’t control and while that is hard to accept, we need to remember that it is not our fault. Yes, there may have been some missed opportunities, but we have our wholes lives ahead of us to enjoy more and to build upon new opportunities that present themselves in the future. Cliché, I know, but comparison is the thief of joy, so try to focus on yourself and your own life without letting other people unintentionally decide how fun or exciting your life is.

Taking the time to look around you and appreciate what you have and how far you’ve come despite any overwhelming circumstances and obstacles, such as the pandemic or a fall out with friends, can be a really rewarding thing. I find that it reduces the anxiety I feel about ‘time running out’. Life is in the present moment. 


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