Monday, June 17, 2013

time: it flies, it flees.

(photo cred: Charlotte Koldeweij)

If I could tell you one thing I've learned in this year in Oxford, it's that time has an unrelenting, undiscriminating capability to…fly.

I suppose I should be used to it by now—undergrad passed by quickly enough—but there's something about a completely unique experience in a completely new place [which coincidentally happens to also be a very old place…] that really makes it tangible. Even little things are making my impending departure start to sink in. For instance: I wrote this transcribed post aboard a train back to Oxford from a day-trip to London, looking out at landscapes I will fly away from in 3 weeks, using as paper the back of a Tube map I will never need again. 

There have been many aspects of my Oxford journey that have continuously taught me time's fleeting nature:

  • During term, the weeks flew by, with Tuesday essay deadlines forever looming yet always seeming to arrive unexpectedly.
  • The terms themselves, just 8 weeks long, passed in a blink—jamming in so many lectures, seminars, and tutorials—fast-paced and intensive.
  • Skype calls to loved ones: there, too, time flew, making sleep as fleeting as time itself (as well as diminishing any potential friendships with neighbors who could hear through the thin walls my time-zone-necessitating late-night chats).
  • These past few weeks, when I was in full exam mode, time simply vanished. There was so much to read, to study, to learn. It seemed like the whole year had gone by before I'd actually sat down and learned anything…
  • Last Tuesday-through-Saturday, time similarly ticked away at rapid pace whilst I sat in Exam Schools, in full subfusc, writing my four 3-hour exams. [This was welcome in one sense, viz. that the exams got over with, but it simultaneously led to some pretty terrible work…]

And, most certainly, these next 3 weeks to come—my "last" on this side of the Pond—will race away. Farewell dinners, garden receptions, BBQs, and brunches have already filled my calendar that was supposed to be wholly devoted to dissertation-writing. [Add in there a trip to southern France to cheer a friend on through his Ironman; subtract productivity.]

As a good pal of mine advocates, I won't be saying any goodbyes, just a whole lotta "see ya later"s, but it'll still be tough. All I can say right now is I hope Z is okay with world travels in our future, because there are a lot of people from whom time is stealing me much too soon and who most certainly warrant visits in coming years!
Gang's [mostly] all here! (photo cred: Charlotte Koldeweij)

So I will reiterate this post's title. Time: it flies. It flees. From our grasps and our plans and our happenings it escapes, ticking on whether we want it to or not. And though I will be so very happy to be back home—in the arms of those who love me and I love back, with the shade of oaks shielding me from the Southern sun—I will miss this place and its people so very much, too. 

In reflective moments like this, I'm already becoming nostalgic for an experience that hasn't even come to pass. Maybe that's what I need right now, but is that the wrong mindset? Maybe instead I ought to just be thankful for what time has given me? Or maaaybe I'll just think about the future, and about potential events/reasons to get back to these people and opportunities/excuses to get back to this place. 
Either way: time will wear on.

Have a great week, y'all.  It'll be over before you know it.

1 comment: