Chapter 12: Time as our slave driver

Wednesday, 29th January 2020

Dear Diary,

Today is Wednesday. The UK is about to leave the EU in less than 48 hours, marking a sad time in history. Complimenting the impending political disaster, the weather has been dreary all day long, with hours of wind and rain reigning over the city. But at least Studio Ghibli movies will be available on Netflix in three days (if you do not know studio Ghibli, go check it out!). Also, I had German potato dumplings “Knödel” for dinner. Other than that, I guess things are just the usual. But I do have one particular insight to share.

This is the first moment in three days that I am properly calming down, taking time for myself, without the next appointment on my schedule haunting me. I keep rushing from one event to another, chasing deadline after deadline. It is only Wednesday and I have already attended a job interview, wrote 2500 words of my Bachelor dissertation, went to a birthday party,  shopped and prepared food for the week, worked out three times, submitted my Master application, and called my dad. I guess that alone is enough work done for the whole week. I could easily rest now, knowing that this week has been quite productive.

In reality though, the remaining days of the week look insignificantly different in terms of work load as I will have to attend university classes, join for the opening of a friend’s art project, meet more friends on the other days, publish this blogpost, make it to my beauty appointment, and, of course, keep working out in the mornings. My schedule is loaded up to its very limit this week. You can surely tell that I am a very busy person. I cannot deny that I love being active, playing Tetris with my time, and ticking off things on my to-do list. Yet, the last three days have been too extreme even for me who is someone enjoying a full schedule. I have continuously been rushing around as if I had been enslaved to time.

Even though I can say that I organised myself successfully and, thus, followed my busy agenda just perfectly, I am noticing the trade-offs rather pronouncedly. As my time is packed to the very last minute, my mind struggles to catch up with all that has been happening. I have fallen behind in processing every event, so much, that I forget about them although they only happened in the past three days. At the same time, my mind is constantly occupied contemplating the next event on my to-do list. On top of that, the worst trade-off is that I did not commit my full attention to any of the events within the past three days. While I attended them all physically, I did not truly attend them mentally. Because I could not stop thinking about what I had to do next, I did not savour the moment.

This has impacted particularly badly on my friend’s birthday party. I lacked capacity to listen properly to my friends; I was also unable to speak with genuine, dedicated interest and care. Shockingly, I must have come across as distant, and perhaps even as a little ignorant. It hurts me to realise that I had been a sloppy socialiser at my dear friend’s birthday celebrations. This has all been the consequence of my overloaded schedule. As a matter of fact, I am now regretting my absent-mindedness a lot since it had caused me to not enjoy the time with friends as much as I had wanted.

In sum, the last three days have been like running a marathon – but more like one where you start off too speedily, leaving you no breath towards the end, and making you collapse in the first tenth of the way. However, while life might feel like a marathon, it is certainly one where you would want to pace yourself well, so that you actually make it to the finish line.

As a result of my heavy-loaded schedule, I am feeling exhausted and tired now; simultaneously, I am extremely on edge and oversensitive. I should start accepting that only so much can be done in one day.  If no time in the day is left for calming down, giving myself a break; and if I keep saying that I cannot spare any time for something that disrupts my schedule; then I have turned into a slave of time. What is the point of following my schedule like a machine when I end up gradually losing connection with myself?

Exactly, there is no point whatsoever. Time should never ever become your slave driver because, being enslaved to time, life loses its true colours of meaning, happiness, and content.  Start slowing down to a pace of doing things that is more sustainable and healthy over time!

I better heed these words. And I better get going now, so that I can recharge my batteries before they run empty quicker than I want. I shall write again very soon.

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