FRANSEN: The time of our lives is taking over

elena fransenTime flies, time is of the essence and timing is everything. We tell ourselves these sayings, emphasizing the importance of time in our everyday lives.

Time is a fickle concept, although we strive to manage it well and make the most of it. But what does time really do for us, and why do we worry so much about it? We could get into a heated discussion about what time is and why we feel the need to quantify it, with me rocking the boat with German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s claim that ‘we as human beings are time,’ but that’s another can of worms.

While we can’t talk about exactly what time is without a stress headache, we do know that time is quantifiable, making us think we can easily keep track of it. Breaking it down into days, hours and minutes may make time more graspable, but focusing on the minutes until class lets out or the days before spring break takes us away from making the most of our time.

Keeping up with all the unpredictable demands of college life can be difficult, often making time your best friend or your worst nightmare.

There are so many different things going on everyday that we often try to pack as much as we can into the limited time we have. This leads to a preoccupation with the seemingly simple concept of time in an effort to control events that are beyond us. Our obsession with time and how we manage it comes from our insecurity about life and the future when there is so much we cannot control.

I try to schedule everything to maintain a sense of control over my fast-paced life, probably spending an unnecessary amount of time staring at my planner. But that just leads to more time slipping away. When things don’t go quite as planned, even more chaos is created. Being preoccupied with clocks, alarms, timers and dates makes me more aware of time, but it doesn’t make my life any easier to handle.

I wish there was some way to really hold onto time. But it’s one of those natural phenomena that, due to our lack of comprehension as human beings, we will never fully understand. Dedicating so much energy to keeping track of time isn’t worth it in the end.

It is important to take a look at how much attention we give time and how we organize it, thinking more about what we are doing rather than the time it takes to do it. While we try to manage and maximize the time we have, we can’t add to the amount or fashion it in the way that is most beneficial to us. Life keeps on going and time just … is.

Just don’t give up your clocks and alarms. You probably still need those and a snooze button to get you up in the morning.