About Time

One of the things I like about being in the academe is that it keeps me from being sucked into a perpetual loop of humdrum activities. A school year ends just as quickly as it begins. One quarter leads to another, and before you know it, the school year is over.
This time next week, my students will be battling it out with their periodical exams. Shortly after that, rehearsals for thanksgiving mass and commencement exercises (for those who will survive) will ensue. Then, adieu. C’est fini. And because these boys are graduating, they move on to another campus, and the reality of it is that I will never see many of them again.
Some of them have asked me in the last few weeks, “Ma’am, will you be teaching Grade 9?” And when I replied, “No, I won’t”, some of them feigned disappointment as though it was expected that I go where they go, as if our time together was not meant to come to an end.
Or maybe it’s just that, for some of them, time is just one continuous thread, whereas I experience it as gnarled and knotted, in hopeless twists in many places. Sometimes I feel so stuck because some experiences keep me from moving forward. Sometimes, fear holds me back, and the spool of time that I have just keeps turning in its place. Sometimes, ghosts from the past come back and pull me back in a downward spiral as if I were reliving a recurring bad dream. Yet, sometimes, time seems to be pushing me forward, not just egging me on, but really applying the force of a steamroller, propelling me as if I had turbo boosters attached to my feet.
In a day, at any given moment, time is warped. It is here and now. Yet at the same time, it is also everywhere, happening all at once. And I find myself torn, pulled in so many different directions, yet standing solidly in place. Right now, I am here, writing down these words, and feeling very much like I’m rambling aimlessly. But at the same time, I am in my past, and I am dipping my toes into the future. I am in places I have been to and in those I have yet to see. I am scattered across time, yet I hold all time—past, present, future—in me. I am time-bound, yet I am boundless and free.
Nine lives (or more), baby.

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