Time never sleeps
Time never sleeps
  • 승인 2011.05.08 17:13
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Two weeks ago, I received a phone call from an old friend of mine. We became friends when we were assigned to the same class in high school. Unlike my present situation, he has already gone into the world and gotten a decent job. After having a chat about his routine for a while, he said in a tired voice, “I do not know how fast time passed in these days. I can’t even remember what I did in the daytime. I just wake up in the morning and hit the bed after coming back from my work place. 24 hours a day is just a blink of my eyes. Time didn’t fly so rapidly in our school days.” “I know what you mean, Buddy,” I agreed. Even though we were in such different situations, both of us were thinking about time in the same way and feeling regretful over vanished time which we couldn’t even notice.

The conversation with him reminded me of one scene from my childhood. At that time, with my father, I was in the car of my father’s associate. While they chatted, he told my father, “Time runs at the speed of 20km/h in your teens, of 40km/h in your twenties, of 80km/h in your forties, and so on, as aged men said. Doesn’t it?” He went on, saying, “At his age,” (he pointed at me with his finger) “time seems never to go by, but at our age it glides swiftly so that there is nothing left but feeling of great regret and longing for the good old days.” If so, did my friend and I have such sentimental ideas just because we are now grown-up and older than 10 years ago? And is it the only reason for the sadness and longing for the past?

One reason flashing through my mind is the fact that as grown-ups, now we are able to appreciate the value of time. In my case, I had never been to a private institute until my 20’s. Also, there were few people who burdened me with duty and obligation. Even though I didn’t do such drudgery, the result was not so serious, for at no time did I feel rushed or under pressure. I could have tidy free time and feel relaxed. There were few cases in which I couldn’t do anything because of a lack of time. Moreover, living in the country, I got along with other country boys, read some interesting books, and rode my bicycle freely whenever I wanted to.

But the state of affairs has changed. Time has turned into a limited resource, like money. With money, the matter of how to spend it is somewhat tough for me because the needs for money always overwhelm the sum of money I have. I have to divide it for various expenditures according to their emergency or priority. Like money, now I have to split my 24 hours to cope with duties and drudgery like assignments, studying for my major, and having a part-time job to make a small sum, which are all poured upon my schedule. These are kinds of work I am expected to do, and if I didn’t do such things, of course I would get in great trouble.

I know there’s no way to turn back time. Once time passes, that’s all, whether I spent time doing a worthy activity or not. So I feel sad, thinking, “I should have done a certain thing instead of doing that…” or, “I should not have been idle as I was two years ago…” Realizing this fact, I try to keep busy, making a great effort to grab the flying time as if it were possible. Maybe I am so preoccupied and immersed in the routine of a day that I could even not notice that time is running. Such routine is almost the same with that of yesterday or the day before yesterday, so much so that I think I did nothing special, saying, “Oh, I did nothing, but it’s almost the end of a day. What the hell happened today?”

As a grown-up NOW, there are no people who order me to do something and tell me what I should do. For my promising future life and decent career, I have to think about what steps, skills, and knowledge would be needed to actualize such goals. Apart from time for mandatory work and assignments, I need to arrange time for acquisition of new knowledge and skills entailed in the pursuit of success in society and being a complete independent individual

Doing what I must do constantly, I come to notice that I don’t have plenty of time as I did in school days. To loaf time away means that my work is being piled now and that sooner or later I will have to do it under a lot of pressure and effort.

Therefore, I cannot help trying to save time so as not to be in such a doghouse. But I find it is not so easy. Every time I exert myself to grab the end of time, there is nothing left but the trace of the time that had ebbed away, just as if I had only gotten my hands wet after trying to seize water. With the trace of time, that is to say, sundries such as notebooks bearing my illegible scribbles, receipt for snacks I bought yesterday, or worn-out shoes and clothes, sometimes I think what my life would be like if I didn’t even possess such proof of time. By that time, I might be floundering in the air of time with only dry hands, missing my old wet hands.


Jo Han-jin
Senior, The Dept. of English
Language & Literature



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