By Madeline Sweeney

The older I get, the more cognizant I become of time. I often find myself saying “time takes time.” I say this -all the time. It’s the perfect response to the job-seeker, the griever, the broken-hearted. Here’s the thing, though; I am completely and undeniably unaware of how much time I have left on this earth. 

So, why obsess over it?

My friend, Anna, does not believe in time. When she first said this to me I was sitting on the floor of our college house on Warrensville Center Road, crinkling my nose and forehead and trying not to insult her with my laughter. Of course time exists. Anna explained her logic. She believes that we have no hold on the understanding of the fullness of time and that everything we have constructed is superficial. She explained time does not exist in zones, but it is a process of movement and growth that is measured in the value of the moment in which we are acting. “The succession of the nows and the past is culminating constantly into the present,” she says.

It was not until recently, in the presence of my brother, that I found a way to connect to Anna’s belief of the human-driven creation of time.My little brother is one of the most inspiring people I have ever known. His name is Michael, and he is my guardian angel.

Michael and I are three years a part. As children, everything was a competition. If Michael was sent to bed before I was, he fought to keep his eyes open until I was in my room. If Michael got a new set of Pokémon cards, I had to get a new pack and prove that mine were “better” (sparklier). It was not until high school that Michael and I became real friends, and it was not until I moved to Ohio that we found a new form of understanding for one another.

You see, when I go home to visit, my little brother and I sit on the couch and watch movies for hours. Sometimes we don’t even talk. We’ll start when we wake up and will shut all of the blinds; then suddenly it’s dark out and the day has disappeared with the sun.

Moments with Michael make me forget time;

he forces me to live in the moment – even when the moment is as insignificant as him putting his feet in my face just to get a quick laugh during our third Harry Potter movie of the day. He truly has a special place in my heart, and his presence has meant significantly much more to me recently.

My world has changed a lot the last few months. I moved to a new city and had to make new friends. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone, and the strength I’ve had sort of caught up when Michael and I were in our shaded movie room over this Christmas. I broke down for the first time in two months, and Michael just sat there and listened. He listened as I gave him my broken heart. He held the memories I spooled from my head. He sat as I painted the picture of the difficulties I’ve had moving three times in six months. Michael then scooted over and said, “I’m sorry Maddie,” he hugged me, and we moved onto the next moment.

Michael is one of the few people that truly makes me understand the importance, or lack thereof, of time. He, like Anna, believes in the nows. He stands for feelings, for recognizing how you are at current. The significant moments resonate within him and fuel him in the present.

There’s this cliché saying that we don’t know how much time we have left – anything can happen. It has such a negative tone to it. It seems fleeting, like our lives could cease to exist in an instant. Today, on the first day of 2017, I am turning this cliché into a universal term. I am giving it a mulligan, pressing the reset button and changing the idea of our limited time on earth into something positive.

I am promising to treat every day as if it were a new year.

I don’t know how much time I have. I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow or in ten years. Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m making for dinner tonight. But as we say goodbye to one year and hello to the next, I will consciously make an effort to ignore the pressures of time and live for the people I am surrounded by. I will live for Michael, for Anna and for all others – including myself.




Madeline is a recent grad of John Carroll University and currently resides in Columbus where she writes content for Crow Works, a design and manufacturing company. During her time away from the office she volunteers at the Ronald McDonald house, plays in a soccer and sand volleyball league, and practices hot yoga. Madeline has a passion for hearing peoples’ stories, and she often spends her down time writing some of her own. Although she’s moved away from her alma mater, Cleveland will always be her favorite home.

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