Time is one of my biggest enemies and causes me much pain and suffering. There’s either too much time, or just not enough. It can pass in a heartbeat, or drag on intolerably. The older I get, the faster it seems to go, even when it drags on and on for the moment. Before you know it, the season has changed, jobs have ended, relationships run their course and children are grown. And during times of sadness and misery, it seems to last forever. Time is not my friend.
Not having enough time causes me to experience frustration and stress. Pressure to meet a deadline at work, finish a project, or complete a task can affect me physically as well as mentally. My chest get’s tight, my legs ‘bounce’ uncontrollably, and my body tenses up until it hurts. If I realize that there really isn’t enough time to accomplish what I need to do, it can trigger a sadness and even depression. I can see that I’m going to fail, and failure is not something I accept. “Damn. It’s just not possible to finish on time” can deflate my mood like a tire running over a nail. All the energy just flows out of me leaving my body weak and tired.
Almost enough time can create even more problems. I feel like its possible, then at the last minute there really wasn’t enough time after all. The disappointment is overwhelming to the point of tears. I was so close! I am excited that I’m going to succeed, but end in failure after all.
The lack of time leads to many mistakes. Rushing to finish, I cut corners, don’t double check behind myself, am sloppy and deliver substandard results. I may reach the goal of completion, but in the end it turns out to be an even bigger failure. It’s a horrible feeling when I realize that what I’ve done isn’t really a good thing, but makes me feel stupid, and looks even worse to others. The satisfaction of meeting the deadline is killed by the poor results. For me, this happens more than not as I tend to focus on the end rather than the process.
Even when I’m able to squeeze enough time to do what I need to do is stressful. I’ve forced myself to push through, generating an almost superhuman energy and focus. And when the job is done, the energy remains. But now that I’m finished there’s no outlet for the stress and it can feel like I’m going to explode. Sometimes it can even trigger a manic episode if I have multiple deadlines that follow one after another. By the time everything is finished the amount of power needed just takes me over the top, and I can’t stop.
But for me, too much time is worse. That’s when the fears set in, imagination becomes overactive and destructive and I dwell on problems real or imagined. Too much time is when I get into the most trouble with myself. I over think everything and come up with more problems than there really are. I second guess myself, and rethink my issues over and over, coming up with different conclusions every time. This is when the OCD really kicks in. Thoughts become repetitive and take over conscious thinking. I get ideas in my head that I cannot control. It’s never a pleasant thing either. It’s always something bad or painful that builds in intensity to the point of being unbearable. I can wander around the house looking for something, anything to do, but without the energy to actually do it. Too much time usually means I’m alone, and the loneliness just makes it worse. If it goes on and on, it can trigger a depression. The problems become too big, the fears become too strong, and the despair can be overwhelming.
Remembering times past is one of my biggest demons. Memories haunt me and bring back old pain and hurt. I never seem to remember happy times, but recall only the unpleasant and sad ones. Even if it is a good thought, the fact that is has passed and I’m not in that place anymore just makes me sad that it’s gone. I may have been happy, but I feel like I’ll never be happy again. I may remember times spent with someone else; even good times. But then I imagine that they’re now spending that same time with others. It wasn’t good enough with me or they wouldn’t need to be with someone else. This too can become obsessive, and cause me much anxiety and pain.
And once in a while there is the anticipation of a good time to come. I may be going out with friends or beginning a project or even starting a new job. But then the worry sets in. Am I going to be accepted? Will the results be what I’m expecting? Will I end up making too many mistakes? Have I oversold myself and ultimately end in failure? It’s a rare event that I look forward to something that turns out as expected without stress or worry.
But this time it will be different. I recognize that too much or too little time is a struggle for me, and I’m going to find a way to overcome. If there’s just not enough time, I’m going to find the root cause and accept it for what it is. Maybe I’ve put too much pressure on myself. Maybe someone else has asked for something unreasonable. It is what it is and if I can’t meet the expectation it’ll just have to do. There’s only so much that can be done. Too much time can be controlled as well. I find that if I just start something productive or even distracting the time passes more quickly. If I set a goal, however small that I can focus on can help deal with the excess time. Maybe I can write a new report at work or improve a process. It might be as simple as doing laundry or straightening up the house. I can write. Often times just starting to put ideas into words can put things in perspective and help define the real problems and develop solutions instead of building up imaginary ones. It helps me stay organized and focused.
I have spent way too much effort wishing away my time. If only the task if finished. I can’t wait for this day to be over. If I can only make it through another week the next one must be better. But time is finite. There are only so many hours in a day, and so many minutes in a lifetime. If I don’t learn to make the most of the time I have it’ll be over and gone before I know it. I can never get lost time back. I’ve got to quit wasting time and accept each moment for what is it.
After all, isn’t it about time?