Time is a funny thing…

Here’s a little tune to set the mood, from the one and only Pink Floyd.

Say you’re expecting something exciting to happen, something you’ve been planning on for a long time or anxiously awaiting the arrival of — time sometimes seems to slows down. A day can feel like a week, and a week can feel like a year. Take, for example, when you’re counting down the last few weeks until your wedding day, or even something as simple as waiting on concert tickets or an Amazon purchase to arrive in the mail.

But then again, time can also speed up, so much so that we don’t even notice until it has already passed us by. Just think about the last time you or someone else you know said something along the lines of, “Wow, where did the last year/month/week go?” And it seems that, as we get older, each year passes by even faster than the one before it.

I’m no horologist — yeah, I had to look that word up — but I’m fairly certain that time isn’t the deviant here. Sure we have leap years and shit, but time is time is time. So I guess it’s really the mind that’s the funny thing.

I’ve been meditating over this concept as I try to grapple with the fact that I’ve already been living in Croatia for three weeks. But also…. I’ve only been living in Croatia for three weeks. Somehow time has both slowed down and sped up in the 21 days since I left Atlanta, and I’m just sitting here trying to figure out who keeps sneaking into my room at night to change the clock on my phone.

In these last three weeks, there have been a lot of big adjustments to my lifestyle — from meals to culture & language to working hours to community and peers — it is ALL different, and I want to take it all in. I want to do it all.

I want to kick ass at my job (from 5,000 miles away), meet all the people (both locals and fellow RY peeps), eat all the food (read: pizza), and explore all of the towns and islands (plus visit all of the GoT filming locations…duh). But I also want to keep up with my blog (sorry, guys!), write in my journal, keep in touch with loved ones at home, and — yanno — maybe get a couple hours of sleep every once in a while. But alas, there are only so many hours in the day, only so many weeks in the year, and sometimes you simply just can’t do it all.

Okay, now let’s pause for a second for a quick story… At the end of our first week in Split, after most of the group had arrived and gotten settled into our apartments and new work routines, we had several orientation type meetings and workshops. During one of these, we were each handed a sheet of paper with a grid of 100 equally-sized squares, designed to represent 100 days worth of time. We were then asked to color in these squares (and create a key) based on how we wanted to spend those days (note: not necessarily our last days on Earth, just the next 100). Basically the idea is that our time is limited, and not necessarily guaranteed, and this exercise was supposed to serve as a way to visually map out that time to help us reestablish our goals and realign ourselves with our priorities. Because, well…. you can’t always do it all, despite wanting to.

I’ll spare you the actual image of my hastily-colored piece of work, but here’s what I landed on:

33% Mind Growth, 33% Body Growth, and 33% Soul Growth.

This was partially influenced by a fact that one of the RY staff brought up: triangles are the strongest shape (go ahead and Google it if you don’t believe me… I’ll wait). And when you think about it, there’s a lot of strong/spiritual associations with 3’s… i.e. the Holy Trinity, that saying that “bad things always happen in threes,” Earth Wind and Fire, Destiny’s Child... I digress.

The idea behind the mind, body, and soul breakdown I came to basically equates to finding happiness and fulfillment through balance. If I focus solely on work, I lose out on the amazing community I’ve become a part of. If I focus exclusively on connecting with the people I’m with (aka late night conversations over wine and sleep deprived weekend side trips) I’ll eventually get sick, and probably lose my job while I’m at it. You get the idea.

We may not be able to control how fast time passes, but we can sure as hell control how we spend it and where we focus our energy while we’re here on Earth. We may not always find the perfect balance — we might spend too much time working one week, and not enough time taking care of our health the next week — but hey, that’s what the remaining 1% is for, right? As long as we continually challenge ourselves to grow, in healthy and self-loving ways, I’d say that time is time well spent.

One last (slightly random) thing… This 7-minute Ted Talk by John Koenig touches on the meaning of “sonder” (the very appropriate name that was assigned to my Remote Year group — S/O to all my Sonderitos!) as well as the meaning and power of words in general. It gave me chills, so you should watch it too. I’m still working to uncover and fully understand some of the more obscure, subconscious motives I had for joining this crazy, year-long journey, but John does a beautiful job of putting those ideas and feelings into words: