Words on words: Wrestling time the tyrant


photo illustration by Alice Yu

Alice Yu

Deacon Winton DeRosia serves as a deacon at Christ the King Parish, located in Concord, New Hampshire. DeRosia wrote the homily, “First Sunday in Advent” as a reminder of the illusion and threat hidden in the concept of time. Read the entire homily here.
[quote cite=”Deacon Winton DeRosia”]The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time.[/quote] This quote was yet another piece of wisdom I stumbled across while dawdling what little time I have away on Pinterest. Accompanied with the full intro in “First Sunday in Advent”, this put into words the harrowing relationship I had with time. Fully in the swing of the school year, I truly felt the claws of time hacking away at my sanity with every assignment and thought of procrastination.
During the school week, I spend evenings convincing myself that I’d have time during the weekend to finish that project and read 40 pages in my psychology textbook. Looking at deadlines, I trick myself into thinking I’ll actually get work done over winter or spring break. Each break from school becomes a golden time period where my productivity will soar and I’ll actually get to check off all those pesky things on my to-do list. Alas, that feeling of completion never comes. Why? Because during the weekends, during every break, I don’t have that time.
I ignore all the other tasks and events I have in my planner. Procrastination is the art of successfully convincing yourself time is not a concern, but it always is. The clock doesn’t stop for anyone, much less me because I have to finish an essay analyzing Beowulf or complete a statistics assignment on MyMathLab.
Section your day out realistically
I’m a huge fan of to-do lists. I have an entire notebook dedicated to lists and notes for every single day at school. I used to jot down tasks in the order that I heard them in and spend multiple times a day scanning the list trying to set mental reminders. Put simply, that didn’t work. I’d drop the ball on a few things and have to re-write the same task for the next day, hoping I’d have the gall the mind to complete it.
Now, I section my day out in chunks and organize the original list into chunks of time (before school, during second hour, after school, etc). There’s no use tricking myself into believing I can cross 14 things off my list before the first hour bell even rings. It’s great to plan out your day, but do it realistically. Don’t give yourself 30 minutes to finish your 15 questions statistics assignment, meet up with your AP literature teacher, and finish the psychology reading from last night. You might finish it all, but it sure won’t be the best quality you can do.
Just like new year’s resolutions, break your goals and your day into smaller pieces that you can actually accomplish. Allow yourself to feel the rush of accomplishment instead of setting yourself up for days of disappointment. For more pillars of thought to have when combatting procrastination, check out this Forbes article.
With every second you’re planning for the future, you’re setting the past in stone
The past is something you’ll never be able to change, no matter how many times you replay a scene before you fall into the welcome arms of sleep. Stop planning to make more time and letting those dreams fill up your past with empty wishes that never reach fruition. Sometimes it feels like we’re running after this idea of a block of time where we don’t have deadlines crashing down on us and events sprinkled across our calendar. If you want that free time, you’ve got to make it. You are fully in control of your schedule, so stop thinking there’ll be a time when the world will magically stop needing your attention and your services.
Unrecognized final farewells
At this time in your life, you’ve already said goodbye to someone for the last time and visited some place of significance for the last time, and you don’t even realize it. You’ve hugged someone for the last time and you didn’t even know it at the time. Life isn’t always like a phone battery that gives you a percentage of how much power you have left. Sure, sometimes you see the warning signs of friendships that drift apart or deteriorating health, but these losses also have the habit of taking us by surprise. Instead of asking, you live and love like there’s no tomorrow. I only have the request that you always remember people and places of presence have the ability to become lost in the flow of life and pull of the past.
photo illustration by Alice Yu