Time is something I think about a lot. I think my favorite quote about time is this one, “And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.” That’s in Kurt Vonnegut’s postmodern masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five.
I’m wrapping up my penultimate semester of my undergraduate career and I recently turned twenty-one. So naturally, I’m thinking about the passage of time more than usual and how there are people who have known me since I was twelve and there are people who I’ve known me since I was seventeen and how radically different those two versions of me are, and yet they are still the same person.
I feel like I was just a seventeen year old kid, fresh from my high school graduation, ready to eat the big bad world in one gulp. Now, I feel tired, and not as bold as I was due to life kicking my ass a couple of times these past four years. I think I feel tired because I wasted a lot of energy trying to “get my shit together fast af” now that I was out of my hometown, and in a bigger city where things happen.
It’s been such a blur, this whole college thing. But I am proud to say that in the blur of memories that I have, most of it was colorful. Most of it was laughter, most of it was positive new things and most importantly, most of it was getting to know people that I cannot see myself living without.
That being said, this semester, despite the fact that I’m not doing a lot of things has been the hardest. I always feel like I have to be doing something to have on my resume in order to boost my chances of not starving after graduation, or worse, moving back to Lancaster. I feel like I’ve gotta because or else I’ll feel like I did with high school – that I didn’t make the most of it. This is my biggest fear, to regret the things I could’ve done.
I went to a coffee shop to work on an annotated bibliography. I went to the bathroom, and a phrase I’ve heard many times was nicely, part of the decor. “Take it easy.”
I’ve always felt that doing things the easy way was a cop out, and due to my ego, I constantly feel like I need to challenge myself. I’ve never known how to take things easy, but I’m trying to. I’ve always been real quick to neglect self-care in the name of doing things that I think will help me reach my goals, but I’m starting to realize that it’s so important to take care of myself too. How the fuck am I supposed to accomplish my dreams if I’m sick and tired all of the time? How am I to enjoy things if I’m unhealthy, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally, or all three? I have to make it mine, the present. I have to take it easy, and remember to breathe.
But then, Inner Me is like “BITCH, YOU ARE WASTING TIME RELAXING AND THE WORLD IS FLYING BY YOU.” But that’s not true, I don’t think. I must have faith in opportunities, that they are abundant and that there is plenty of time to get it together. And I think as I end my first week as a twenty-one year old, I need to be less hard on myself and not rush.
I think about seventeen year old me, and how angry and desperate she was to get out, to have experiences previously denied like kissing boys, and going to parties, etc. Whenever I fail at something, I always feel like I’m failing her. But I’d like to think that she’s proud of the person she’ll/she’s become/ing, accomplishing big dreams like going to England, and finally writing something she’s proud of, finally finding her voice as a writer.
I think of seventeen year old me, with all her anxieties and grab-life-by-the-throat attitude would want me to take it easy. Present Jacky is starting to really appreciate the fact that I really am doing the best that I can under the circumstances. And as the end of this shithole year approaches, it’s important to bring that into 2017. To take our defeats and extract what we learned from them, not the bitterness of them, and to not be so hard on ourselves. Because no one fucks up on purpose, and fucking up is as inevitable as 405 traffic. So we ought to make our peace with the way some shit turns out, recover and try again later.
Recovering is the part I need to work on, because I never give myself the time to do it! But that’s my new goal for the upcoming year, to take it easy on myself because like I said, I am doing my best, and so are you. Time? An infinite construct. Me? A real breathing human person, made out of stardust, with physical limitations. Thus I need to learn how to fucking chill.