Day 312: The Illusion of Time

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Time will try to play tricks on you, but don’t let it win.

More than three hundred days ago Jay packed 10 suitcases, kissed me goodbye, and flew across the world to his new home in Australia. Looking back at the past 10 months I can’t believe that it’s really been that long. We’ve been away from each other for more time than it takes to complete a year at a university. Despite being separated by almost 10,000 miles I feel like our connection is even stronger than when we lived in the same state. But even though I feel a stronger connection and can’t believe we’ve been forging through the distance for almost a year I am struggling hard this week.

For the past couple of weeks Jay has been on vacation. Three days after I left Australia he headed for Hong Kong. Three days later, he flew to Holland. And 4 days after that, he headed for South Africa. He spent a couple days in Johannesburg before taking a short flight to another South African city. As far as I know he’s still there, but WiFi is scarce in parts of the country so I haven’t spoken to him in 5 days.

Time is such a funny thing because the 10 months of distance feels incredibly short, but these past 5 days feel like an eternity. It’s only been 5 measly days and I am like a lost puppy. I send him an email (or two or three) each day that I don’t here from him just to update him on my life and tell him I hope he’s safe from lions. Occasionally I chat him pictures of my face so he’ll have those when he finally gets online. But every day he’s adventuring with elephants and lions (at least I think that’s what he’s up to) I’m sitting at work or hanging out with friends while daydreaming about him. How is it that 5 days can feel longer than 10 months?

The illusion of time is something so interesting to me. When Jay and I visit each other it seems like the days go by so quickly and before we know it we’re separated again. But then we look back on the wonderful memories we made on the trip and think “wow, that was a really long visit.” Now, 5 days feels longer than 10 months. So what about a situation makes time feel so different to us?

From my experience, I think that uncertainty has a lot to do with how fast or slow time feels to a person. Jay and I go about our daily lives hardly noticing the distance most days. When I wake up we chat for a little bit and then a couple hours later he falls asleep. I go about my usual routine at work and occasionally send him a short message for when he wakes up. We usually get to talk a little more before I head to bed and the cycle repeats pretty similarly each day.

Right now things are a little different because of Jay’s vacation. It feels like I’m lost in the anticipation of speaking to him again. I don’t know when our next conversation will be and that’s what drives me crazy. I know that once I do hear from him I will immediately feel better and we can begin talking more regularly again. I’m not sure if it’s a subconscious fear that something may have happened to him, longing to hear about his recent adventures, or simply missing our conversations…but waiting these past 5 days to talk to him has been an incredibly difficult challenge.

Time is a very unusual concept: the time between visits seems so long, visits seem so short, the time spent apart doesn’t feel so long, and the few days with limited communication feel like years. Time will try to play tricks on you and put you in an awful mood, making you sad, anxious, or angry. Whenever you feel this happening take a step back and know in your heart that you will hear from your SO soon. The love between you two can help keep your mind off of the “long” gaps between communication. If you think about how strong and loving your relationship is, time will seem to pass more quickly than if you focus on the lack of contact or the long distance between you. Don’t let time fool you because before you know it you’ll be talking together again and before you know it you’ll be closing the gap for good.

Inspired by this LDR Writing Prompt: Amazing Advice

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