The Bright Side: Time was never meant to be held

Published 7:03 am Friday, November 11, 2022

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I often wonder how I managed to take on three entirely different career paths. When I first landed on the island, journalism was my full-time gig. I’ve always loved to write, and sharing other people’s stories and accomplishments fills a void inside me like no other. Then I decided to take on a new endeavor and got my real estate license, which has allowed me to connect with people in a different way, aiding in a huge milestone for most – purchasing a new home. And along the way I also wet my feet in the healing world, through God’s miraculous grace and glory.

I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been hard to balance these career paths with my personal life. My fiancé and I are in the midst of planning our wedding, we have a young dog and a home to care for. I have family and friends I like to keep in touch with daily all while ensuring I have time to stay active and also take time for myself. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and I’ve learned through this challenge of balance that I have a love-hate relationship with time.

Time is just a human construct, right? We developed the concept so we could quantify what we do and how we put ourselves to use. I’ve always been one of those people who isn’t into “wasting time.” There are so many things I want to accomplish and I never feel like I have enough time in a day to do everything that I set out to do.

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Time is like grabbing something slippery to me; no matter how hard we try to hold onto it, it wasn’t meant to be held on to.

That being said, it was easy for me to fall into the trap of never having any free time. I convinced myself that if I wasn’t working, talking, cooking, writing or helping someone than I wasn’t fulfilling a purpose. I’m that person who will show up for an appointment 20 minutes early just to sit in my car and wait until I feel it is appropriate to walk in. I start planning winter holiday trips in the summertime to ensure there is enough time to see everyone. Some would say I’m a bit paranoid when it comes to my time. I can’t argue that.

It wasn’t until I addressed one of my biggest fears that I realized my relationship with time was unhealthy. I’ve actually done research on the matter and there is a very distinct correlation between this fear and “not having enough time.” Any guesses?

Well that fear would be death itself. Death, to me, is vulnerable. It’s unpredictable, uncontrollable and downright terrifying. And research has shown that those who fear death also battle with time anxiety. In other words, those who aren’t content with death usually feel like they are running out of time.

My mind was blown. I never put two and two together, but it made so much sense! And the truth is that there were other repressed and unaddressed issues going on inside that led me to try and control my time. But again, it was never made to be held onto. So now what?

It was a big learning curve, allowing myself to let go little bits of my time. It started with carving out a half-hour five days a week to dedicated gym time with my phone on do not disturb. For our anniversary, I made my fiancé a “weekend jar” full of fun things we could do together once a week for an hour or so. I’ve never seen someone’s face light up the way his does when he draws a new piece of paper out from the jar on Friday evenings.

I allowed myself to take an uninterrupted hour once a week to go and sit by the sound in the morning. Now, instead of going through the drive-through at a coffee shop, I park and walk in, enjoying the atmospheric bliss that comes with waiting for a beverage. I’m a sucker for the smell of coffee beans being ground down and the warm lights that illuminate my favorite small business establishments.

Letting go of the grip I so desperately tried to have on my time has allowed me to physically breathe better, mentally cope with more tasks than I could healthily cope with before, and emotionally open myself up to those I meet in each of my jobs.

I still have a long way to go, but I will say I don’t fear death half as much as I used to. I’m now so much more grateful for time and have come to understand that as much as I thought I was in control of it, time was actually controlling me. Thank goodness neither I nor time has a firm grip.

Danielle Puleo can be reached at