November 10, 2010 by Jen
Well, it’s happened. After twenty-plus years of questions about “anyone special?”, I’ve finally found myself in a relationship.**
Sad to say, it’s not been a healthy one. In fact, it’s decidedly problematic.
But at least I’ve reached the point when I can finally admit it.
I, Jen, am in a very unhealthy relationship with this fellow called Time. You could call it co-dependent. Obsessive wouldn’t be off the mark. Over-protective? Yep. Controlling? Oh yes.
See, My Time is not only the name of a racehorse in Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series; it’s also the most common way in which I approach time. As a result, I’ve developed a rather irritating refrain this year: I don’t have time. I need more time.
This semester, in the midst of reading British novels like Jane Eyre and Frankenstein, I’ve noticed that one of the motifs I pick out is what I usually notate as “the tyranny of time.” The characters in these novels structure their stories within a framework of time: they apologize for the passage of time unmarked; they initiate and conclude events by referencing the time of day; their subjectivity is closely linked to their appropriation of time.
If these literary characters are subject to the tyranny of time, I haven’t got a prayer. Busy-ness is part of the contract in graduate school, and in one respect, it’s non-negotiable. But I’m starting to think that there’s a difference between treating time as something to be wrung, manipulated, fractured, and hoarded; and as something to be mindful of and to preserve wisely in order to be generous with.
When I’m sitting in my tiny metal cubicle at 3 a.m., I think about these things. But it’s one thing to wax poetic about the tyranny of time and yet another to translate thought into action. How to make that distinction in a day-to-day life that flees past me from job to job and assignment to procrastination technique (i.e. blogging) is another matter all together.
Well, call me a geek, but what would it look like if, “All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you”?
Given to, not owned by. Maybe that’s a starting point.
Switching off the Internet might not be a bad idea either.
**Made you look. 😉