Tick Tock · 13 May 2012

Tick tock. You have less than an hour.

It is an ominous thought to think that we all have deadlines to meet. My deadline of posting a new blog on my website is self-imposed, but I feel that I must meet it. Every week. I do it not because I know there are thousands of readers out there waiting for me to put the link on my Facebook fan page, but because I have made a contract with the few readers I have (both real and imaginary) and with myself. And this week, I must do it in under an hour.

As my self-imposed deadline looms, I find myself thinking about all those students who are taking Advanced Placement tests or the SAT or ACT. They are all out there sweating through tests that have strict time limits. Tick. They are calculating and reading and analyzing and writing trying to get college credits or show colleges they are ready to tackle the challenges of life beyond high school. Tock. I can empathize with those students.

I empathize with the students because like them, I see the minutes passing by much too quickly. I too am composing without much of a plan. Or maybe any at all. Thankfully, I do not hear the tick tock of an analog clock on the wall. That tell tale heart foretelling my doom as the deadline draws closer and I am merely a paragraph or two into my story. I feel the same angst and anxiety as those students wondering what their readers and graders will think of the words they put down on their tests.

Fortunately, my future does not rest so heavily on some seemingly arbitrary test. It seems that I can put out words about nothing and my readers will still read. True, they might unlike my fan page, or write some nasty comment about my content, but life will go on regardless of whether anybody likes my post or not. Whether I meet my deadline or not. Life will go on for the students taking the tests too, whether they realize it or not. That tick tocking of the clock is not a time bomb ready to go off and dash any hopes of college placement or credit or of future success. It is still just the clock on the wall telling time. Tick… Tock…

Today, as I write to try and beat my deadline, I wonder whether all those students out there taking tests and watching the clock realize that life does not depend on one little test. They do not yet have the gift of time and perspective. Hopefully, they do not all believe the lie that one little test could make or break them. Hopefully, they realize that their future depends more on their passion and the price they are willing to pay for success than on one little test. And if not, hopefully, that same tick tocking clock will one day give them that perspective.

I know that my life, as a person and as a writer, will not fall apart if I do not meet my self-imposed deadline. If I do not post at the usual time. I know that life will go on if I fail a test or do poorly on a performance review. But I also know that it was not always so. I used to sweat through timed tests and wonder whether I was good enough. Whether I would succeed at anything. I realize now that only the tick tock of the wall clock can give us the perspective and wisdom to know what is truly important in life. That in the large scheme of things, one little test or one little deadline does not really matter.

I am about to make my deadline and my hour is not even up. Tick. That clock on the wall is just keeping time and giving me more perspective. Tock.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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