Time is terrifying, but let’s not worry

I have always been terrified of time. Time going too quickly, slipping away from me. Experiences passing too quickly, not cherishing the moment enough. Time passing without having achieved ‘enough.’ Finding the New Year actually quite sad. Getting older; most of my birthdays I’ve dreaded (until the day, when I’d wish it wouldn’t end, of course). Not feeling my age, or not feeling how I thought I would at this age. Hardly believing I am this age and wondering where the time went. Then there’s the future, the unknown. What to do next? What am I going to do? How do I decide, and how do I make it happen? What will happen?

So, I clearly find time scary, and as you can probably tell, it also gives me a lot of unnecessary worry. But I do know it’s unnecessary, and I have got a little better in my attitude to it, perhaps simply to avoid driving myself crazy. When it comes round, I don’t think too much about New Years anymore, about how ‘meaningful’ it is (or isn’t), because it’s too much for me, I’ll panic about the passing time. It’s better if I just think “it’s just another day, time just flows on, it’s not a big deal the date has suddenly changed.”And now I’ve got the big birthdays under my belt (for a while), I’m more chilled out about them too. Twenty-two will just be another birthday, no big deal, whereas the past few have been filled with thoughts like “oh my god what, now I’m meant to an adult?!” and “what on earth do I do to celebrate, so much pressure!!”

But the fear of time slipping away from me, of needing to constantly be getting things done, and apprehension about the future is still strong, especially as I approach the final deadline of my degree. To an extent this is just me wanting to achieve things, and it’s natural to worry about our future when it’s so uncertain. There is a lot of pressure to figure things out, to be constantly achieving things, to kick start your life and reach your goals. But really, there’s no time limit, no rush to figure things out. No amount of worry about the future is actually going to make it any better or any clearer. If anything, it will make it worse. We need to try and relax, to be measured, to think things over calmly, and see it as exciting, not scary.

It’s not healthy to beat yourself up for not doing ‘enough’ over a certain amount of time, as I have done many a time. As long as you’re trying hard, that’s enough. If you want to do more, then you can, but don’t dwell on what hasn’t been done. Save yourself the worry, it will only hold you back. Focus on what you will do now instead. And maybe there’s a reason why you couldn’t get done what you’re stressing about that day, week or month. That is okay, so be kinder to yourself. Remember there is nothing we really – in the grander scheme of things – ‘should’ have done by a certain time or age.

So really, it is completely pointless to fear time. We cannot control it, as much as we’d like to. Time just happens. We can’t fight it. So what’s the point? If we are fighting it by worrying about it, wishing it wasn’t passing so quickly, or clinging onto the past, we’re not doing ourselves any favours. We’ll lose focus on the present, which is the most important thing: what you’re doing now. Not what you did last week or didn’t do last month. We should try to live in the now, to enjoy the moment, and to just accept how time passes.