Your Time Is Running Out. Are You Wasting It?
10 years ago, my life was carefully planned. I knew what I was going to be, and what I would do. I knew my path was to become a musician, join a punk band and tour forever.
I spent minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years chasing a dream, and realized too late what I’d lost. Suddenly, I was in my mid twenties, with no career to speak of and mounting debt.
Maybe this happened to you too. You dreamed your life would be different, somehow. You dreamed that you would be special, be admired, be discovered. You thought that your name would be up in lights.
But time slipped by, and none of that happened. You drifted further and further away from your original destination, or — like me — you flew off the cliff and left no skid marks behind.
And now, here we are. We’re scrambling for more time, more time to change one thing, or everything. More time to live, and have it all again the way we used to. Because the time we took, we threw away chasing things that were worthless, or just worth less.
The clock is ticking louder. And we’re all on time that we borrowed from the universe, and our supply is running out. So what do we do? What do we do, now that we feel we might have wasted more time than we have left?
There are so many things I want to do. I want to draw comic books, and write prose, and create art installations — but equally, I want to grow businesses, and explore being an entrepreneur. I want to transition.
There’s such a clash, with these different areas of interest. These different things that I desperately want to do. Finding a way to marry them becomes incredibly difficult, and daunting. But that’s only because I have forgotten how to just be, and be the way I am, and let myself explore whatever interests and passions I have. Without the crushing pressure of “making it”.
A few years ago, my then partner and I went to the country. We wanted to get away from the city and spend some time tasting good wine and relaxing, without the technology that I obsess over.
We stayed for a few nights in a small cottage, out in the Australian bush, a good thirty minutes from the nearest town. The location was beautiful, and well worth the drive, 4–5 hours out of Sydney.
The first night, I couldn’t sleep. I was lying there, awake, for hours. It was the silence that got to me, the deafening silence, the total lack of any sound that I was familiar with. It was like stepping into a clean room, but in the wide country, with no boundaries to close me in and keep me safe. I needed to fill in the blanks with podcasts and a game on my phone, just to be at ease.
I was terrified of the quiet. Why? Because it was so unbearably unknown to me. Because I’d spent so long in a mad rush, that I no longer knew how to be, and be in silence.
We can keep focusing on the dream we had, and pretend that it’s all going to work out, somehow, someday. That we don’t need to have a plan B, or an alternative path, because the time spent will eventually be paid back by success. We can believe that our dreams will come true, and be true to that ideal, sacrificing our lives and the people we love during our madcap sprint to the promised land.
That could work. But the hard part is, we just don’t know. And every moment is taking us further away from a chance to try something new, and find fulfillment in a different way.
I wrote recently about destinations. About how it feels to spend your life constantly looking ahead to your climax, wearing blinders that stop you from seeing everything that you pass by. I think the advice that we have to follow our dreams and go out into the world with no other purpose sounds good on paper — but it puts everything into that one end goal.
Or, we can learn to accept that when your time runs out, we won’t be faced with a judgement, that we won or lost. All that we’ll face is our own inevitable question.