The 24 hours of a day


It still feels like late 2021, which is when this photo was taken.

As I’m writing this, the clock on the mantel is audibly ticking behind me. Each click is another second of my life I’ll never get back. I can’t rewind the clock’s golden hand, no matter how much I long for it to stay still. 

Twenty-one hours later, I’m writing this in Spanish class. The distinct green walls envelop me as I glance toward the clock hanging above the door. Time is an immovable force. It will keep going forward, and forward, and forward, and nothing will stop that. This isn’t an unknown fact, or a discovery I’m attempting to claim, but it’s something I constantly seem to forget. On occasion, time fades into the background and exists as nothing more than an ever-present measure of moments. Other times, I can feel it passing me by, and I feel empty and scared as I’m reminded; every minute spent sitting at my desk is another minute I could be out in the world truly living.

However, I find inexplicable gratefulness within feeling overwhelmed.

Time isn’t consistent. Sometimes, an hour is how long a class is. Other times, it’s twelve five-minute periods. It can be how much longer volleyball practice will last. It can feel like forever or nothing at all. I spend hours doing nothing and staring at walls, thinking about everything I could be doing. It’s overwhelming. However, I find inexplicable gratefulness within feeling overwhelmed. I could read a book, I could watch a movie, I could go for a walk, I could play my trumpet, I could write another column, I could do a cartwheel if I wanted to. I want to say I’ve never taken all this for granted, but I have. Of all the endless possibilities each moment contains, I choose to write this so I have a little less to write over the weekend.

Four days have passed since I’ve worked on this. In the span of those four days, I’ve figure skated, watched a movie, been to Detroit and back, and played volleyball. It seems like a lot, but I feel like a second ago, I was sitting in Spanish class. In four more days, I’ve completed another week of school. Each week will be very similar to the last until spring break, then each of those weeks will be similar, until summer, and again, until the next thing. There’s always something in the distance to look forward to, which is theoretically a good thing. But what about the time between the landmarks? Life should be more than looking ahead. For many, it is, as they do everything in their power to ‘live in the moment.’ I wish I could do that. Instead, I live deadline to deadline, break to break, well aware that I’m wasting my high school years. 

Although in the back of my mind, I know that I’m not truly wasting them, I still have four years to spend sixth hour laughing until I cry. I have four years to procrastinate and complain about homework assignments that will end up taking ten minutes. I have four years of getting Starbucks on hour-delay days. The little moments are what life is composed of, whether they’re the most memorable or not. Just because life is moving too fast doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.