There is no doubt how many times we girls find ourselves caught up in the whole clock thing. It just gets to a time when all clocks can’t stop ticking, and as you rush to catch up with this clock, another one starts to tick. When you think you are starting to catch a breath after the school clock has paused, the career clock starts ticking. And as you set your mind to run with this clock, oh – the biological clock sets in, and it just doesn’t stop! Questions like: when are you getting married? followed by the comments like: “Oh! You are growing old!” or “Where is the son in-law?” or “Oh! Where are the children?” It gets to a point and the clock just can’t stop ticking on its own; but every day, it ticks fast depending on who is controlling it!
Parents, friends, strangers, acquaintances – for some reason everyone in your circles feels entitled to run your clock! Even strangers sometimes ask: “Are you married?” “Oh! Where are you going to work?” This and that!
I wouldn’t blame any girl for losing themselves in the face of this, the pressures that come with comparisons, taps on your back with words like: “The daughter of my friend Jackson is working here; she is doing this and that. Are you sure you can’t get something like that?” Or: “Oh, your childhood friend Racheal, her family is rich – are you sure she can’t get you some connections?” or “Oh, I really think you have to step out more; no one is seeing you from in here!”
It’s so easy to get lost in these pressures, to feel like you aren’t making any progress, to conclude that your life is stuck and sucks! And your high silent cry is: when is my turn coming? When do I get to that career? When do I get to settle in marriage? When do I get to please my parents, my friends? When do I get to fit in – in society? For some reason, you start identifying yourself as a misfit; you become blind to what you have achieved, to what you have endured. You stop appreciating the you that was built in the process., You just want it fast that you don’t stop to embrace the slow pace, to take in the wind, to inhale and exhale, to pick up some flowers in the thorns. You are just looking at the list and the ticking clock.
When you sit at a dinner table, and all the talks are about Jane who has achieved it all and everyone is admiring her, then all you have to do is beat yourself up. Instead of enjoying your family time, instead of learning some family dynamics, instead of taking time to think and look at yourself and those around you as individuals – individuals with different clocks, with different callings, with different fates and destinies, you are so focused on how your neighbors clock is ticking.
You are so waiting for it to dawn and go to work so you can have chats with Grace during tea time to admire how she got so lucky, that you forget to embrace the opportunity that right now you are standing in the same space with Grace. Perhaps you should be asking her what she did best in the now, how she was able to endure the time that you are in now. Perhaps you should be wondering how you can live in your moment as you wait for the next step in your life.
For years, I would find myself getting overwhelmed, tired, unconsciously depressed, angry, uncontended and desperate. Looking at what should be that isn’t, lagging in the past and blaming others for my lack of progress.
The thing is we have always had a choice. A choice of who to trust with our clocks. The Pace on which you run your life is an immeasurable responsibility, and you have to choose wisely who you let in to dictate what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. We have to be careful when choosing who will hold us accountable if for some reason we don’t hit the target, if we “miss the mark” according to them.
The choices we make with our lives, our clocks, will determine whether we enjoy the journey, whether we embrace the process, or if we’ll break and be left impossible to repair!
Our clocks should be connected to ourselves. Only you, only you know yourself. Only you should know when to stop and catch your breath, and when you should put on the running shoes and chase after your future. It’s okay to look at the wall and find that your clock stuck. It could be your moment to look right into your life and figure out what to change, what to cut out, who to cut out, and what to embrace next!
In that time when your clock is stuck, it should be a time for you to ask yourself, “What do I need most in this moment and in the days to come?” To know when the rush is needed and when it isn’t. To figure out what matters to you.
How do we expect to grow and find ourselves if we don’t do that in the slow moments of our lives? It’s in our slow moments when the clock seems not to be moving that we sharpen ourselves for the future, that we get ready for the bigger revelations to come. It’s in the silence – after we have embraced the slowness – that we ask ourselves the tough questions, questions that change our lives. Questions that grow our vision and understanding. It is in the slow moments that things come into perspective.
Mariska Hargitay: “It’s a life’s journey of finding ourselves, finding our power, and living for yourself, not for everyone else.”