I’m Afraid Of Time – Are You?

I’m afraid of time. Are you?

I didn’t realize my fear until after I graduated from high school. All of a sudden, each day was accompanied by a ticking clock, keeping perfect time in my brain, 24/7. What can I get done today? I need to make a to-do list. Actually, three separate to-do lists. Ugh, I’m behind on this, I haven’t even started that. I should have gotten more accomplished by now. I’m going to fail. I’m going to run out of time. 

Does anybody else feel that way? From the time I was a young child, all the way through my senior year, I always felt like time was infinite. All I wanted to do was be happy and do things that brought immediate satisfaction. I spent hours watching Netflix, online shopping, and hanging out with friends every chance I could. Of course, I don’t regret investing so much of my time into friendships – I have some wonderful people in my life because of that – but as I look back, my mind can’t help but regard so much of that time as wasted.

Isn’t that kind of sad? One moment, I’m an average teenager with no stress of time and how I spend it, and the next, I’m throwing myself into adulthood and I have literally developed an anxiety over time, constantly pushing myself to accomplish and feeling guilty when I don’t. I wake up each day with a to-do list, and I feel like I am perpetually racing against a clock. I see each moment as one that I will never get back. There will never again be an August 22nd, 2017. I will never again sit here on this Tuesday night at 9:37 and write this post and have lived this day. This is the drastic shift my mind has taken, and it has been difficult to manage. I wrote a song about it and everything.

But even as I have been experiencing this, I have gradually realized an important truth: the only way to combat this fear is to debunk the two most damaging lies that I have been telling myself.

The first lie?

 I’m going to run out of time. 

Though our days are numbered and each breath is a blessing, we all have so much more time than we realize. Life on this earth is incredibly short, when you are looking at it from the big picture, but in an everyday reality, life is so much longer than we can fathom as humans. There is no sense in dwelling on each day as a loss of time, because that mindset takes away from our ability to focus on working towards our goals and making the most of that time. Does that make sense? This anxiety over time is simply a fallacy of human thought – we create it in our heads.

Another thing that I’ve had to remind myself of is that life is more about the journey than the destination. These days spent working and thinking, making progress and then falling backwards, rewriting something five times or taking six years to get a degree – that’s what our time is meant for. I like to consider myself an efficient person that just wants to reach my goal as fast as I possibly can, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the bridges I will cross and the mountains I will climb are simply obstacles in the story of my life. They are meant to be there and they are meant to take up time.

Of course, I’m not saying that when an obstacle hits you in the face, you should just fall over defeated, because that obstacle is “supposed” to be there. Yeah, it’s supposed to be there so that you can conquer it! Do not let yourself become a victim and willfully waste your time, giving excuses. It’s all about taking each day in stride, working to overcome hardships and persevering through them without agonizing over the time that is passing. No, you aren’t going to make outstanding progress every day. Some days, you’re going to find yourself in the valley, and it’s going to be hard to crawl back out. But don’t let that scare you away from trying to hike all the way back up to the mountaintops. Which leads me into…

the second lie:

I’m going to fail. 

As I just stated, I have this crazy obsession with being as successful as possible, as soon as possible. I guess you could say I have big dreams, which I do, but I’ve recognized that there is a line between shooting for the stars and putting unnecessary pressure on yourself. No, I might not be a rich country music singer/songwriter superstar by the time I’m 23. That could happen, but if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed, simply because I didn’t accomplish my goal, my dream, within the timeframe I was aiming for. Don’t let what seems impossible about your dreams scare you away from going after them. 

If you know the story of J.K. Rowling, then you know where I’m going with this. It took her six years to write the first Harry Potter book, and then another whole year to find a publisher that would actually pick it up. She was 32. Now, she is Britain’s best-selling author and a multi-millionaire. Why? Because she did not let time or money or failure scare her away. She put her head down through all of the crap that was going on in her life – all of her obstacles! – and she kept going. Do you think she had time to worry about time passing? I bet you she wasn’t even thinking about that, because she was focused on her dream and she believed in the story she had to tell.

So what am I saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day. Or a month. Or a year! Greatness requires time, and the amount of time it takes you to accomplish your goals has no correlation with how successful you will be. The only thing that will prohibit you from staying on track is the voice inside your head that’s telling you otherwise. Allowing yourself to be controlled by your anxiety over passing time is exactly what is going to disarm you and distract you from being as prosperous as you can be.

I’ve attached a couple photos of me as a kid below. Nostalgia is a funny thing, especially when you look back on your childhood years and realize how much you didn’t know about the world. Seeing these pictures reminds me of how much we change, mentally, as we age. You go from being a naive, carefree five year old, standing on a play set with your little brother as mom takes your photo (see top picture), to being on the brink of your twentieth birthday, knowing so much more than you could fathom, while still having so much to learn. I am thankful for all of these years, all of this time that has passed, as well as all of the experiences I have had through it. I would not be me today, writing my songs and writing AbundantlyKate, if it weren’t for the time I’ve wasted, the time I’ve spent crying, the time I’ve spent confused, and the time I’ve spent lost. I am learning to have gratitude in times of frustration and paralyzation as I continue to chase my dreams, as those moments are just roadblocks along the journey, chapters in my story. I refuse to be pushed around by my anxieties of passing time, and I hope that if you are feeling any of this, you will do the same. Time is a gift, and your life is a story – mountaintops and valleys included.  

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Kate & Luke, ages 5 and 3
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baby AbundantlyKate

Y’all know I always want to hear y’alls feedback on my posts. If you have any thoughts, please let me know in the comments below! And as always, much love. 

 

 

 

© Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kate Stedelbauer and AbundantlyKate with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

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