As someone who feels the need to catch up in life, and painfully aware of the golden years wasted, I always remind myself that time always passes by faster than you expect. And as the year nears its end and my work contract finished, I am reminded yet again of just how swift time flies by.
To me, a year is a microcosm of life. You make plans, you predict what’s going to happen, you have certain goals that you want to see fulfilled, and so on. And once the year is over, you look back and realize just how differently it unfolded from what you had expected. You didn’t do all the things you hoped to do, unexpected things happened, your views and you yourself have changed dramatically, etc. That’s when you realize that your life will likely unfold the same way: in ways you did not expect.
There is one profound quote that sticks in my mind: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I didn’t really accept it when I first heard it, but I now find that statement to be very true for me and many others, if not for everyone. And I realized this more this year than any other.
This year was special for me. I got a new job and moved to a different country. I wanted to start a new life. I was very excited and had many plans of all the things that I wanted to do. The thought of having an entire year with relative independence was something I had been dreaming of for years. My plan was to: learn the new language, workout and become more fit than ever before, learn martial arts, learn to dance, learn to cook, travel, date women in the new country, read bunch of books that I’ve been putting off, develop this blog, write my book, and more. I really thought I had more than enough time to do all of it. But after the first month, I realized that it won’t be so easy to do everything that I had wanted to do: I had to make concessions. So, I dropped more than half of the things I wanted to do off my list, it wasn’t too hard of a decision to make. Then another month passed and I realized that I had a burning desire to finish my book and publish it. So, over the next few months, I made more and more concessions until writing became my number one priority while all other activities faded away.
During this time, new events happened as well. I met new people and made friends with some of them. I would meet them from time to time, and we shared some activities. But although I wanted to socialize more with them and travel together, I was held back by my book writing. I also met many eager people through work whom I wish I had a chance to connect with, but since I stopped learning the language and my mind was always on my project, I didn’t get the chance. I kept telling myself that I would contact them later when I have time, that I will talk to them another day, that we’ll do things together some time in the future, but none of it materialized. I ran out of time.
So now, with the contract nearing the end and having to leave the country soon, I am awed by the merciless departure of time. The little that I managed to get done, in contrast to the big hopes from the beginning of the year, leaves me disturbed. It makes me wonder if I’ll wake up one day when I’m old, when I’m near death, only to feel the same disappointment that I feel now, but with no more years ahead to try again.
I should be grateful that I’m still relatively young with no serious issues that hamper my ability to strive, but I don’t feel it. Being grateful means nothing if I don’t make anything of it. So, for the coming year after I publish my book, I plan to make the best of my time and reduce time wasters, the main guilty party being the internet.
There is nothing I can do to stop the time from flowing. And time will pass by faster every year as I get older. The only thing I can do is make the best of what I have left. You can’t remind yourself enough of the brief and ephemeral phenomenon that is your existence.