Time and I first became adversaries when I went off to college. Before then, I really don’t think we had a problem with each other. But that all changed as soon as I set foot on the campus of my
I was so miserable in college-lonely, homesick, confused, you name it. But I was so young, and I didn’t know to tell my parents that I was so upset and needed help.So I gritted my teeth and
soldiered on, and that is when time and I became enemies.
I always felt like there was a race on between me and time; I was always running around, trying to find ways to fill up time so I wouldn’t have to feel my misery, and time was always looking for ways to f*** with me. It was continually shape shifting, trying to catch me off guard, trying to find gaps in my defenses and my strategies and my coping mechanisms where it could slip in and strike.
And overarching all of this was the feeling that time was a vice, and I was trapped inside it, and the clamps kept tightening, trying to “catch” my mind and trap it so that it would finally be stuck
in one place, conscious and aware, and completely at the mercy of time as time passed it by.
That’s my version of hell, actually-disembodied awareness and consciousness, trapped in endless time.
And although our relationship has gotten better over the years, I would say that time and I are still adversaries. Whenever I’m in pain, whether physical or otherwise, time seems to make it worse, because I have to be present in time, and pass through time, until I can get to a time when I feel some relief.
Hm-but now I’m wondering if that’s actually time’s “fault”. Maybe time is neutral, and my pain has been real, and, unfortunately for the painful times, the fact of being human and living in this world
means that time is what enables me to have experiences-some painful, some wonderful. But maybe the painful and wonderful actually don’t have anything to do with pain.
What if time is like the stuff you put on to prep a canvas for being painted? What if it’s like a stream running underground, or in the background, allowing everything around it to exist and live?
What if Being In Time is what allows me to experience things?
What if time is like air-just there, just being what it is? I can allow the air in, I can let in just a little bit but not a lot, I can resist air, I can refuse to let it in. But that has nothing to do with the air. Air is just air. Time is just time. In and of themselves they are neutral.
Just like there’s no life possible on a planet without water, there’s no life possible in me without breathing air.
And then as I’m living, experiences come to me, in some cases I can say “yes” or “no”, and go along my merry, breathing way.
But sometimes I don’t have any say over what experiences come (Fibromyalgia, anyone?!) and all I can do is choose how I interact with them. Will I stop breathing and resist them? Will I breathe a little bit and deal with it a little bit at a time? Will I try to take in too much all at once and overload my systems?
I didn’t choose to have this illness (this particular experience), but I can choose how I interact with it, at least up to a point.
What if time is just the backdrop against which my life is played out, against which it stands out as something that matters?
What if time is the mystical, alchemical substance, like gasses surrounding a planet, that animates human life and existence? And then air is what animates my particular human body? And then my
particular body is what animates and allows for my particular life experiences?
What if time is actually neutral?
What if it’s not actually my enemy, but my ally?