I have been thinking a lot lately about time. Perhaps it’s because I am feeling a little nostalgic. In less than a week from this posting, I will be graduating from college. My life has gone through so much change over the last three and a half years. I started this journey facing a mountain of work and what felt like an eternity until I finished. So much has happened since I stepped onto campus for the first time as an undergrad.
So much time has passed, and yet, here I am, as if it all flew by in an instant.
If there is one daily practice that I have embraced in recent years, it is the concept of mindfulness. I have used it as a meditative tool to help me do my work and get through the day. It requires being present and living in the moment. Each task you do is given all of your undivided attention whether you are merely picking up a bag of groceries or writing a final term paper.
What happens with this practice is that time, and your use of it, feels like it expands. With the absence of the frenetic rush of your mind running a mile-a-minute through several concurring thoughts and your body multi-tasking, you lose all sense of time–and for that matter, you lose a sense of purpose.
I have deliberately decided that I do not want to live my life constantly putting out fires and rushing everywhere. I see people who do that all of the time, and it is not sustainable. I have learned to equate time with a sense of purpose. What I do with my time and what I prioritize during my day are extremely important.
I always work toward prioritizing the important stuff while also making time for solitude, rest, and relaxation. I live mindfully, and time ebbs and flows calmly forward. I prepare for times when I know life will be hectic and crazy, but by my own design, those moments are few and far between.
When I consider the most important parts of my life, my mind conjures images of loved ones, family, and dear friends. I also beam proudly about the risks I took that lead to deeply fulfilling experiences.
These days I also envision time as a precious and finite possession. When you lose an object, you can always buy a new one or do without. When you forget something, you can simply recall it later, but with time, once it passes, it is gone.
All time that has passed in our lives is irretrievable, pretty much forever.
This means that I have important choices to make. Do I spend hours scrolling through Instagram, or do I sit with my impossibly affectionate cat for a while? Do I go out and finish the twenty items on my to-do list, or do I have a quiet day at home? There are no right or wrong answers.
What matters more is whether the activities you carry out align with what you value.
Time exists in the moment. Time in the present is truly all that we have, despite our ambitious plans for the future and our past regrets.
I value my time more and more every day. Every moment that passes is mine for the taking.
I want to use my time to live a beautiful and meaningful life.