Time Anxiety

This is a constant: my fear of time slipping past me, things I should've would've could've done, had I had more time. Impatience is my worst fault, or at least the one that comes up most often. I want to have done so much more than I have. I shouldn't be obsessing over the revision of one novel—by now I should have written a whole other one and be sending it out! I get angry at myself when I think of how many days I've wasted (let's not count) and then I get immobilized by the anger and then I get angry for being immobilized and…you get the idea. Calendars and clocks make it all the worse, being constantly aware of the hours I've "lost" and the days, months, full year now in which nothing of consequence was accomplished. I need to stop obsessing over tomorrow and yesterday and just walk around in today. Yeah, I really should do that. But right now I have a doctor's appointment and then work till 6:30 or so and then a freelance copyediting project that's due soon and I really need to get started and so I guess that means I'll have to determine my new life philosophy tomorrow. Or next week.

This weekend I'd better write something good.

3 comments

  1. I thought I was the only person who felt like this! I seem to work in cycles of being incredibly organised and productive, then everything falling apart. I beat myself up over my lack of activity, then I feel paralysed and can’t do anything. The cycles have got more marked now I have a baby. Each time he has a sniffle my heart sinks because if he gets ill, that’s it, at least 2 weeks of no writing because I’ll be taking care of him then I’ll catch whatever he’s got then the housework will mount up and I’ll have days of catching up with myself. I have got the philosophy now: “Even 10 minutes writing is OK.” 10 minutes is better than nothing.

  2. This entire summer has been spent obsessing over an alarm clock, a watch, a phone-anything with time on it. I spent all my days obsessing over those things…”what if they break,” “what if I oversleep”… I got a day-planner which I didn’t really need because I was on summer vacation! But I convinced myself I needed it. My anxious mind told me over and over that I needed to stress over these material objects (time is an illusion anyway!) or else I would become negligent and forget everything. I’ve always had insomnia and this obsession kept me up most of the night! Of course I knew how ridiculous it all was but my foolish mind was persistent. Some of this anxiety involves the fact that my sister is leaving for college (there is always an underlying meaning) and I will need to be on top of everything. Before the summer, I was afraid to even look a clock in the eye and now I’ve done a complete 180! Neither direction is healthy. I know I will spend my entire life obsessing over meaningless objects (which are merely symbols for what is really occurring inside of me) or make the decision to accept time… without treating it as some powerful, wrathful god who has control over my life.

  3. “Time-Anxiety” can be cured… it’s no magic formula, but a series of consistent adjustments that one needs to make regarding one’s own priorities and one’s own satisfaction of their CURRENT state of being. Time-Anxiety can be helpful to induce “motivation” towards solution/accomplishment; yet, too much of this time anxiety can be… well, it’s what you’re experiencing right now. Key: Find a healthy balance between REST & ACCOMPLISHMENT, and between SELF-UNFULFILLMENT & SELF-SATISFACTION. I’ve suffered through this most of my life, just as “most” goal-driven individuals do. A majority of others in this world NEVER experience time-anxiety because they are consistently NON-goal-driven and avoid real challenges. So I think people like us are quite OK, if you asked me…

    Today, I’m in the midst of solving my time-anxieties as I speak (type)…. Much Luck to you all!

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