“I don’t want to sound grim, but this weekend felt like an ending,” my friend said after participating in FestiFools on Sunday afternoon and, no matter what she had wanted, it was not a positive thought. The four of us had operated a puppet together — I was the right arm. The rest of us pretended we hadn’t heard her. At nearly age 20, any ending seems to be one that has approached too quickly. Walking home, my friend added that we should do this more often, though she didn’t specify what she meant — control puppets, walk downtown on a Sunday afternoon, be happy. Whichever it was, I agreed, but we sat in silence because we couldn’t think of any other ways to make a day special.
As young adults, we have this characterization as an “in between” — we often feel older than we are, yet still young at the same time. “It’s all relative,” my father once told me. I don’t remember when or what context, and I certainly don’t think he intended this apathetic statement to haunt me, but this year it has become my mantra, overtaking my entire life. With his words in mind, I am spending this last month of the school year trying to convince myself that beginnings and endings are kind of the same thing.
An amusing example of the blending of beginning and end was the prospect of dying in 2012 (admit it, we were all a little excited). This was because surrounding the day after our presupposed demise, though we were no more alive than the day before, was a new hope. Though there was no proof anything had occurred, we, however irrational, were left with proof that we had survived.
Now, it is snowing in April and we have the audacity to be surprised, even irritated. We are exhausted now that the end of the semester has snuck upon us. Time is a constant. The denials and anxieties we have involving time are all about our unrealistic expectations.
Now is the end of the school year. For some people, it is the end of a school career. For others, it is the end of childhood. It is (debatably) the start of summer; the weather may cause some to disagree. Maybe it is also the beginning of a job opportunity. Yet, these things are not easily separated. In order to start something new, often one must give something up. It isn’t time’s fault.
In “Time,” a song by alternative-rock band The Mowgli’s, they sing, “I don’t like time; time is making me old.” Time is detested and feared by many. If we had to pick how much time we would spend writing our final essay for Classic Civilizations, if we could control our own time, would we really pick more? I doubt it.
Instead of blaming time as we find ourselves buried in stress, let’s be honest to ourselves. I say that I am too busy, that I don’t have any time, yet, that usually isn’t the problem. Brainpower and emotional energy are what I lack. Time never stops. It is me that I am running out of.
Time cannot always be blamed. Lately, I see many people denouncing political and societal problems to be rooted in the time. “It’s such a bad time we are in,” I hear. Many acts of demonstrating hate, privilege and discrimination have happened this year at the University of Michigan, like many happen every year, a statement both formidable and numb. The University has claimed to be disappointed. I get it; I am also sometimes displeased when I look into a mirror. Yet, time is not an agent of our actions, but is merely the perpetual background. People are agents. It is hateful people who write hate on the sidewalks. It is people who are sad who say sad things. It is people who are afraid of the future who don’t think about it until it is here. Not time.
“Time doesn’t exist,” a friend of mine has informed me. It exists, but I’d like to think that it is not as important as we make it out to be.
Payton Luokkala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.