7 March 2015

Question(ing) time

"There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea."

- T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

"We waste time the same way we did in college, only now doing so makes us uncomfortable. We are at the point in our lives where we have realized the futility of sitting around watching Gilmore Girls episodes we've seen one hundred times, but we lack the resources and maturity to actually do something to change that. We are too old to go out every night, but we are too young to stay in and do nothing. We want to be more productive and live a more worthwhile existence, but we haven't quite figured out how. We don't yet have children or spouses or secure jobs or whatever it is that would make us feel like we had more of a reason to live. We don't necessarily want those things, but we do want something. So we sit in this limbo, wishing there was something less worthless to do than watch Luke and Lorelei argue over coffee, yet continuing to do it while the butterflies flutter around our stomachs."

- Molly Sprayregan, The Brain on 23

"We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lay alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out – that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it’s too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement."

- Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness


So I've been thinking a lot about time, recently. And the above excerpts kind of sum up the thoughts and feelings I've been having. Because even though each author says, in one way or another, that there will be time - time to change, time to be, time to decide - none of them are certain.

Just look at Eliot, repeating himself, trying to drum the belief "there will be time" into reality. And Keegan does the same with her "we're so young" (and no doubt she will have come across Eliot at Yale, and even modelled this a little bit on him).

Spoiler alert - the guy in Eliot's poem goes through life thinking he has time, and he becomes complacent by the idea and never actually takes action. Instead, he is carried through the motions of life without taking control of his own destiny. Life defeats him. Sucky, right?

At 22, finishing up at Yale University, Keegan was young. She had a bright future ahead of her working at The New York Times, and was so blimmin talented and an incredible writer. But the cruel irony of the essay that hits me every time I read it (and I do read it, a lot), is that soon after that she was tragically killed in a car crash. I mean, she was young, but it didn't mean she had time.

And Sprayegen admits that even though we tell ourselves we have time, the butterflies remain, because time, and life, is something we can never be certain of.

I'm constantly torn between how I should use my time. Should I use it to relax? Sleep? Blog? Go out and take a walk? Exercise? Have a clear out? See friends? Send that email? Catch up on TV?

There seems to be so much that I need to be doing, should be doing, at one given moment, that life overwhelms me and I do what Molly Sprayegen's 23 year-old does, and simply stream mindless (but bloody wonderful) TV programmes and feel paranoid about it.

It's funny what we do to feel like we have a grasp of time. We buy a watch. We buy a gazillion pretty notebooks and diaries, make notes on calendars, an event on Facebook, a scribble in biro on the back of our hand. 

But despite all that, I feel like time isn't on my side. It always threatens to creep up on me and make me feel like I'm not doing enough, my life isn't together enough, I'm not achieving enough, tick tock tick tock OH LOOK, YOU'RE THIRTY, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE?

Because I want to believe there will be time, time to waste, time to create, because we're so young. But time is going so quickly, and I wish I had someone to point out whether today I should waste time or whether I should spend my time wisely tomorrow. And with constant comparison over Facebook, Instagram, and the joyous "Congratulate X on LinkedIn" emails, I'm never quite sure I'm using my time the best way for me.

And, most importantly, when will it be my time? When will it be Sofie time? I'm not asking for a day, or even an hour. Just a minute. A minute of success or achievement where I feel like my life deserves a "Well Done". And no, not a crappy "Good effort", because that's what teachers used to say when your work didn't quite cut the mustard.

I'm waiting for my "Well Done", but for now you can find me running round like a headless chicken, then admitting defeat with reruns of Gilmore Girls with butterflies in my stomach and hoping my time isn't up. 

Because there's so much more I'd like to try and achieve... I just don't know what that is yet. But I'd like to find out.

Image courtesy of We Heart It.


  1. I saw a piece of graffiti a couple of weeks ago that read: THE PROBLEM IS YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE TIME. It's still kind of haunting me, especially when I spend a day procrastinating. Great post!

  2. such a good post. totally agree with the whole living in limbo between the nonchalant freedom of tweenhood and proper grown-up adulthood. and also how it feels like we have so much time ahead of us, but it's flying by so so quickly it's terrifying! i have no idea what i want to do with my life, but thankfully, i don't think i'm the only one.. : ) xx

  3. Sofie-Eliza Price7 March 2015 at 12:58

    You're definitely not, Pip! I'm currently torn between showering and doing food shopping or watching trash TV for the rest of the day...

  4. Sofie-Eliza Price7 March 2015 at 13:01

    Where is this piece of graffiti? Need to check it out :)

  5. It was on a random wall in Wrexham - next time I'm there I'll have to take a snap - just to remind me to make the most of my time :)

  6. I am feeling the same at the moment. Turning 25 this year, and inevitably having the big three-zero right in front of me, I feel constantly torn between "heck, I'm still in my twenties, I can have as much fun as I want!" and "I really should start to live an adult life now". Frankly, though, I do not feel half the adult I should probably prepare myself to be, but I cannot shake the feeling of not being allowed to waste my time anymore, either.

    On another note, I found it super nice to see a quote from "The lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock". I've spoken about it in class at uni and I loved it, but I haven't seen it anywhere else since.

    Lisa x

  7. Sofie-Eliza Price12 March 2015 at 19:51

    I'm glad you understand! And yes, I love LOVE that poem, it's one of my absolute favourites :)


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