Our concept of time changes radically when we get older.
With age, I’m learning to value time as I’m becoming more conscious of its finite nature. It’s something I’ve always been aware of, of course, but never something I quite had to process in depth. Sure, I developed an intense hatred for the whole concept during the many occasions I found myself trying to cram in a ten-page essay the night before it was due, but time and I were friends again by the time my work was safely uploaded 2 minutes before the cut-off line.
The understanding of this has put me on guard and while I try to be mindful of it to avoid having it run away from me, it never seems to quite work that way. It’s the time consumption phenomenon; when you’re not paying it any attention, you suddenly find that you’ve used up rather a lot of it.
This was true as a kid when I was having the time of my life playing football and having managed to overshoot my curfew by a good couple of hours, and this is true now, when I’ve had an eventful year undergoing many changes in career and relationships. But you’ll notice the difference. As a kid, it’s two hours that get away from you, but as you get older, a year can start to feel elusive.
So the lessons you naturally pick up as you get older lead to a couple of very common symptoms. The guilt you feel when you’ve spent the majority of your time watching ‘You’ on Netflix, knowing you have a list of errands to commit to run It’s a sign of growth, where your conscience, whether you like it or not, is shitting on the decisions you’re making.
As a kid it was non-existent. You didn’t play with your toys for three hours only to come home and think you really should’ve spent it doing something more useful. I mean if you did, you must’ve been a fucking terrifying kid. Back then authority and discipline came from your parents. Now it has to come from you, and self-discipline is a bitch to pin down but if you manage to contextualize time properly, it can act as the best kind of motivator to ensure you’re spending this limited resource in a befitting manner and seek out more authentic ways to feel happiness than through a screen.