Lost time is never found again. — Ben Franklin
I’m living my life in a constant state of anxiety and I don’t know how to make it stop. And I know how grim that sounds.
Things really do change when you get a full time job you care about keeping. The first three months are usually pretty touch-and-go. You feel pressure to prove your worth; to show your boss why she hired you. Most workplaces have a three-month trial period before you become “official.” It’s a chance for them to watch your every move and determine whether or not you’re a good long-term investment. It makes business sense, but it also makes you want to throw yourself off the roof every time you make the tiniest slip up.
I’m just finishing my three-month trial. Things went according to plan. I accomplished what I set out to upon being hired and there’s no indication my colleagues are dissatisfied with my performance. The whole three-month stress isn’t really why I’m so anxious; I think my stress was masquerading as three-month anxiety.
One day, I was out shopping for some groceries. I left at 1:15. By the time I made it back to the apartment at 2:30, I was hyperventilating and in tears. On my walk home, I worked myself into a lather over a completely hypothetical situation that may arise from a small decision I made at work. I can’t even remember what had me so bent out of shape.
By the time I had shakily packed everything into cupboards, wheezing a disjointed, paranoid diatribe to myself about how I need to snap out of it, it was 3:30 pm. I had spent almost an entire Saturday agonizing about something that hadn’t happened yet…something that didn’t even end up happening.
Before you go making any assumptions about me, I know this is mostly a personality thing. I’m a neurotic and quite ostensibly self-loathing individual. But, I need to believe that I’m not the only person who feels this way. I’m 24 and…
I’m afraid of not having enough time.
Yes. At 24 years old, the passage of time terrifies me. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. In fact, writing it just now was the first time I let the idea escape. Every minute I’m not in the office, I feel like there’s some kind of hour-glass sifting away the precious minutes of “freedom.” The time that’s my own. From the moment I wake up on Saturday morning, to the dying hours of Sunday night, I feel like I’m on a deadline to Make The Most of things. I used to love taking afternoon naps. I can’t do that anymore. I wake up feeling like I’ve cheated myself out of an hour of my waking life—the time I should be using to have experiences.
The inexplicable thing about this is that, for the most part, I enjoy my job. One I get to the office and settle in, start knocking things off the day’s to-do list I feel good. Days don’t drag, I like my co-workers. Yet, once the weekend begins, so does my creeping sense of dread that I’m not going to have enough time before I have to be back at the office.
Time for what?!
I don’t have designs on hiking any of the major peaks. I don’t have any kids whose childhoods I feel I’m missing. My hobbies get enough attention; if they don’t, it’s not because I feel like I don’t have enough time to make it happen. But, evenings and weekends are filled with little moments of disappointment when I look at the clock and realize I only have about 7 more good hours of daylight. The situation is exacerbated when it’s particularly beautiful day.
What am I trying to get to here?
I’m not afraid of dying. I’m not afraid that I’ll close my eyes one night and wake up the next in my dotage. Aging is something I know I’ll welcome. What scares me the most is losing the sundry days…the ones that blend into each other after a year or so. And you can’t remember what it was you were doing in the Spring of 2013.
That’s what you were doing. Working and sleeping.
I’m not looking to make cataclysmic memories that springboard me into a different kind of life than I have now. Funny as that sounds, it’s much more complicated than that. I know how lucky I am and though it might not sound like it here, I’m very satisfied with my life as it stands. I think that’s it—I know how good things are and I want to remember it like this. I want every moment of this incredible time in my life to stretch out and I want to remember what I was seeing, feeling, laughing or crying about on March 31st, 2013. I want to remember it all forever… but I’d settle for being able to remember it next year. And I know I won’t. And that makes me sad.
Maybe not many people feel like this; maybe they’re better at pushing it all away and just living. I don’t think I’ll ever be like that though. I’m always going to wonder if I’m doing enough to appreciate this life. I think that’s all I can do.