Telling Time

  • - Nathan Greene

“A tale as old as time”… words many will recognize from the titular song of Disney’s 1991 Beauty and the Beast. In those six words, the feeling of repetition of forms of storytelling is conveyed, as if time were in a constant loop and we can simply look to the past to solve our present issues. While in many cases this may be true, more often than not time proves to be a slippery creature, never quite able to be understood in our human preconceptions about it. We are always adapting new methods to deal with modern problems, precisely because in today’s world we have new methods of communication, technology, and ideologies which would never have been imagined in even the most wildest dreams of those who thought during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, or even past that. Though the world as a whole has become enlightened and technologically advanced, this same fact has opened so many more questions than it has answered; and while the ancient Greeks could spend their entire lives focusing on solving the riddles of the universe, those of us living today have to instead consider how we will use our time to figure out what we’re going to do in a single day.

With time’s ability to alter so much, it may seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome. I for one struggle against the flow of time; it’s when you want to get the most done that it flies by the most, and for someone who takes a long time to thoroughly complete certain projects, this has caused a lot of issues. Many an assignment has been turned in that I’ve been disappointed in, only because the due date came by a lot faster than it seemed. And I only think, “if only I had more time, then for sure it would have been good”. Unfortunately, for myself and many other individuals, time does not slow or stop for anyone. Even as I’m writing this, I worry if I will have enough time before my next class to do a proper readthrough of my peers poems and give them thoughtful feedback. All of this begets a number of questions; what do we do when we have more things to accomplish in a set time than can actually be accomplished? Should due dates be a thing? Should those who work slower force themselves to work faster, even if it means that the quality of their work isn’t as good?

Unfortunately, none of these questions have answers currently; as much as a universal answer would be appreciated, the truth is that these are questions which must be answered by the self, for no one answer will work for anyone. Discovering how one manages time is vital to organizing our lives. One must essentially become a leader over time itself, and I feel that the term leader is an apt one, for while we cannot directly tell time to stop or slow, we can direct our own energies towards knowing how it works and using that to our advantage. For instance, I’ve begun to realize how important each of my individual actions are once I began to measure how many of my tasks get accomplished in a set time. If I accomplish all the tasks I set out to do, then I begin to wonder if they were done well or not, and I can begin to think about what needs to be done to most effectively accomplish future tasks and working that around a schedule of major engagements like classes or work.

Discovering how to manage time an extremely important endeavor to take on, and while I still am not 100% myself of my own method, I am no doubt in the process of creating it. We each have our own view of how time works, and the strength I’ve found within this is to mold our personal strengths and weaknesses around our own view of time.

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