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January 14, 2024

      I have been contemplating the concept of time. How time heals, but also wounds. If I sum up my 2023, I would honestly say it was a year built by short bursts of completely different versions of myself, made by my external situation. 

      To explain this fully, I have to begin last January. It was my final semester living with my roommates, who were going to graduate, while I was not. My life was chill in those months. What I remember most fondly is sitting in my room reading fantasy romance, being inspired by my university classes, taking myself to the movies, and frequently freezing my ass off standing in line for the bar with my friends. Time was my friend here. The weeks passed lovingly. 

      I made it to summer, and I moved back home. I was not too upset by this. I was ready for a change of pace. I started working full time at a job I loved and hated. I felt like I really found community within my friends, something that felt so special after years of weirdness due to covid. As the weeks ticked on, I rode the line between excitement and horror. I had a big change coming, I was moving to Germany. This is when time made me anxious. This is when time became a question. 

      By the end of August, I left, and time didn't move much for a while. It felt like my forever, and I frequently thought, will I ever make it to the day I go home? Not necessarily in a negative way, it's just that life, and the way the weeks moved felt so different. I was in a situation that I couldn't get out of whether I was enjoying myself or not. Luckily, I had a lot of fun. I met amazing people, I saw amazing cities, and beautiful art. I grew in some ways, but simultaneously learned what seeds I need to nurture within myself. Then, suddenly, time ran out. I thought I was ready, but also maybe I really wasn't, and the question in my head changed to, will I ever make it to the day when I see these people again? Time, once my friend, became a mortal enemy. 

      The beauty of exchange is that all your problems disappear for a while. Time is on your side, because you feel like you're using it wisely. 

      So, now at home, I feel time creeping up on me as I start my last semester of university. I feel time creeping up on me when I sit down to think about how a completely different phase is coming. I feel time creeping up on me when I complain to my mom about how being 22 is annoying, mostly because I wish so deeply that my local library had a book club for people my age. I feel time creeping up on me when I feel like everything around me is about to change in a really scary way. 

      Sometimes life doesn't have to be wholly beautiful. Time shows you that. Sometimes confusion is the end all and be all of the situation, and that's something you kind of just have to find peace within. As much as time rules us, it can also be used as a tool to facilitate a life that's really worth living. In my good moments I remember this. There is a certain joy in being strong but also soft.

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