Time is a Funny Thing

Time is a Funny Thing

Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it flashes before your eyes faster than you can blink and others times the days drag on – long and seemingly never ending. The reality is that time moves at exactly the same speed. A second will always be a second, each day will always contain 24 hours, life will continue to go on at exactly the same pace whether you like it or not. As humans we love to have control. Control of ourselves and our choices, control of others, control of the laws, control of what we wear, now we are even trying to learn how to control the weather. Control. Control. Control. Time, however, is one thing that appears to have slipped through our greedy hands. Managing to elude even the smartest of humans it remains to run exactly on its own pace, without control, doing just as it pleases – much to everyone’s frustrations.

Sure, we invented minutes, hours, days, weeks, years to help us keep track of time. To document our lives, special moments, important events. So we can make plans and be on time for meetings, work, school, etc. However, that is as far as we can go with controlling time. There is no major button we can press to pause our lives and stay in a moment forever. No way to fast forward and make the days go faster. No way to rewind and fix our mistakes, change things we said or did, not matter how bad we want to.

As an exchange student time becomes a funny thing. At first, you are overwhelmed with just how much you have. Looking at the calendar and realizing just how long you have left. How long it will be until you see your family, sleep in your own bed, step foot in your own house again. It can be scary and overwhelming at first. The days drag on. You are in a new town, new country, living with a new family. You probably have not made real friends yet, the days can be long and lonely as you struggle to fill the hours.

Then something amazing happens, the time slowly begins to speed up. The days turn into weeks, weeks into months. You begin to make friends, find hobbies. Slowly your empty calendar begins to fill up. Each day you cross off slowly bringing you one step closer to home. At first, these steps are slow, the feet dragging, barely moving, now they are picking up speed, first a walk, then a jog, and before you know it they are running. Running toward the finish line that will bring you home.

But now you don’t want them to run, you want them to go back to their slow walk. The days are going by fast now, too fast, flying before your very eyes and there is nothing you can do about it. The home you were once so desperately wanting to go back to no longer pulls you with such force. You still love your home country, you still miss your family, you still want to go back eventually, but now a new problem has arisen. A blindside that you did not see coming, one that I do not think any exchange student is prepared for, yet it happens to us all the same. We begin to realize that when we go home to where we came from, we will also be leaving a different home behind.

You now have two beds, two families, two countries to call your home, two places that will forever hold a place in your heart.

Three months ago today, I left my home for the unknown. There are have been ups – learning about a new culture, trying new foods, making new friends, discovering a whole new way of living, learning how to be independent and taking on an immense amount of responsibility. There have also been downs – jet lag, the frustration of language barriers, long days, cultural differences. Most of all there has been discovery. Of what I am capable of overcoming, what I want to do with my life, who I am as a person and who I would like to become.

While the time continues to fly by, each day going by faster than the last, I realize now that there is nothing I can do to stop it. Time is out of our control. What we can control is what we do with our time. Each day we wake up with an empty slate, a day that can be filled with endless opportunities, it is simply a matter of how we choose to live it. I challenge everyone to make everyday count. Do things that make you happy, take time to appreciate the little things in life, because before you know it your time too will soon begin to run out.

I have exactly 100 days before I return home. 100 blank slates to fill. 100 days to make count – which is exactly what I plan on doing.

Word of the day: Carpe Diem – seize the  day.

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