Thoughts on Time

For the longest time I felt caught between trying to live my life and simultaneously trying to wait for it to pass me by. Although I cannot speak for those living and studying outside of Korea, I feel like this is typically true of most international school students I have encountered here: we live by deadlines, always telling ourselves we just “have to wait until (insert date here), and then it’ll all be ‘okay’ and life will be easier”. But it never becomes ‘okay’, because after that deadline comes another, and another, until eventually you find yourself in my position, about to experience the end of an era and wondering where all the time went.

Sometimes I lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, hoping to find answers in the plaster and wallpaper. There’s a piece of tape stuck there from when I tried to hang fairy lights in December of 2016, which ended up being a major flop. The flimsy tape wasn’t strong enough to hold the lights up, but I never peeled the last bits off of the ceiling: they just dangle there as a reminder of my failed attempt to be a Pinterest girl. The flower pattern of my wallpaper is faded and peeling next to my bed, from years of rubbing and picking at it nervously when I couldn’t sleep.

Tiny pencil lines mark my growth spurts over the past ten years, each faded dash representing different stages of my life. Am I, as a senior standing at a proud 173 centimeters, still the same girl I was in 4th grade, standing 148 centimeters short? It seems like just yesterday I was running around Hong Kong with my brother, eating sui mai in a corner 7-11, watching Mickey Mouse on cable. When did I grow so tall, too ‘old’ to watch the Disney cartoons I still love, to have soy sauce dribble down my chin, to hang out with my brother? When did I become so monotonous, so devoid of the childlike enthusiasm and lust for life I once overflowed with?

If my life is a football game, I am but a spectator, always allowing others to star as my quarterback, to win and lose the games I should be playing myself. It is a rather defeating analogy, to understand that for the past few years, I haven’t actually been seizing the day, just existing.

As the summer (what could potentially be the last time I will have a period of three months to do whatever and go wherever I please) approaches and the rest of my life is laid out oh-so-excitingly in front of me, I plan on spending my next years exploring the bold, funny, raw, and thrilling business of truly living, however heartbreaking it may be.