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It’s About Time We Changed Our Perception of Time

I’ve always hated the concept of time, and that’s probably because I’ve always feared it. I remember how my sister and I would slam sandy palms against the hollows of our ears during our childhood beach vacations. When she’d say to my parents, “don’t tell me how many more days are left,” I’d nod my baby cheeks in agreement as any little sister would. I think we reacted this way because we feared the confrontation of the dwindling time that would soon consume the rest of our holiday. We did this because we perceived time as something that was always fleeting. Now, I tend to fear time all the more because I’ve seen the things it can do. How it takes whenever it pleases, how it promises nothing, how one day it will just stop.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that many of us have a negative perception of time. That depending on the context, we either have too much of it or not enough. Too much when we’re staring at the clock and waiting for it to slice through the last sixty minutes of our work shift and too little when our childhood passes us by in the blink of an eye. It seems that in our relationship with time, we are never truly satisfied. 

I remember seeing a picture once of bold graffiti on a concrete wall that read: “Time doesn’t exist, clocks exist.” This has always seemed to strike me as an ode to Westernized perceptions of time, how our society has taken something so abstract and molded it into something so calculated and rigid, something easy to feel uneasy about. My apprehension stems from the perception I’ve been fed, dictating that time has promised me a linear succession leading up to a finite existence, and so I take this promise seriously. I neurotically calculate how I must divide my portion of the continuum. This leads to my inability to reside in the now. My inability to simply welcome new people into my life, instead of viewing them as a threat to the others already dwelling within it. The current dwellers to whom there’s already too much time that I owe. 

Ultimately, it is this anxiety that I am trying to soothe. I am trying to accept that, while I like to picture my time being spread evenly between every person in my life, the reality is far more jagged. I’m beginning to realize that my issue with time isn’t time itself, but rather my constant acknowledgement and calculation of it: a symptom of Western society’s incessant scheduling.

As a remedy, I’ve realized that I must look to my younger self for advice. I must press my hands against my ears once more and muffle the sounds of the ticking clock. I must coax myself back into an oblivion that strips time of its agency over me. I must refuse to let time’s passing taunt me because, in the end, no one can tell me how many more days are left.

Sara Skodak

Western '22

Sara Skodak is currently in her fourth year at Western University. She is working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree under the English Language and Literature program. While she ultimately aspires to be a fiction writer and author many novels, her current creative nonfiction work for Her Campus dives deep into topics that usually surface after 2am.
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