Reclaiming My Time
Cover Photo: The Persistence of Memory, 1931 - Salvador Dali
I’ve always found myself at odds with time. Never could hold onto it long enough. Always in search of a new dealer. Someone to take time from and give some to. See- the thing about time is it has a mind of its own. It expands and contracts at its own will, making that two-year dead end job feel like 2 months and that 3-month-old relationship feels like a lifetime. But so as she giveth, time taketh away.
You know in college I never quite mastered the art of time management. No matter the subject or the assignment- I’d always submitted things the moment they were due and not a minute before. I had this huge final paper to write my junior year. It was worth like 20% of my final grade and required a great deal of research and writing. 8 pages minimum. I had a lot of self-doubt surrounding this assignment. I kept feeding myself these ideas that I wasn’t a good enough writer. That I couldn’t possibly write an interesting academic paper, that my mind wasn't sharp enough to even understand what was being asked of me in the first place. Needless to say- I begged time to expand. “Give me some more- just this one time,” I pleaded. She never quite took heed to my request and suddenly it was the morning of the day the paper was due. I had class until 1 pm and the paper was due at 11:59 pm. I walked into my 9 am with nothing prepared. I had spent the train ride to class reading academic journals and taking as many notes as my hands would allow. I sat in that class filled with anxiety. I had no basis for this thing I was supposed to have spent months working on- time had failed me. She left me out to dry. As I returned home at around 2 pm I knew what I had to do. I had to reckon with time. I told her I’d give her my wifi and my dinner and forgo my iMessage and in exchange, she’d break me off a few hours. She’d contract and provide my mind space to expand just enough to write this paper. She would hold on until I was finished and then go about her way. She'd agreed and suddenly I found myself propped up on my living room couch, one leg around the armrest the other dangling from the seat cushion, typing furiously until my wrists locked and my fingers cramped. I finished the last sentence, opened up Blackboard and hit ‘Send.’ I glanced at my phone and it read, “11:39 pm.” I had just made it. I was thankful.
I knew time did not owe me any favors so I thanked her and vowed to value her more. To give her up only to those who deserved her. To use her for the betterment of all. The moment I broke that vow she’d begin to expand. She’d made that job that I was so eager to have feel like a prison sentence. I had given her up so easily to these people- these people who overworked me and underpaid me. You can't just give up your beloved time so freely. She deserves to be earned. So I put in my two weeks notice to that job and I told her I’m taking her back- reclaiming time, my time.