It's About Time This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I value my time. I store it, stock it up on the shelves as memories, I tuck it into homework and school. I place it in glass cases, displaying time that has created something I love and value- family, friendships, stories, games, and daydreams. Sometimes I use it to make things. Sometimes I waste it chasing shadows. Sometimes I'll take a moment off the shelf or out of the glass case and hold it in my hands, careful not to let time slip through my fingers like sand through an hourglass. I value my time because I believe it’s my most precious asset.

I see my family and friends sell their time to their jobs, dreading each work day, their happiness on hold until they retire. I saw my father sacrifice his time with his family to chase the holy grail of wealth and abundance. I’ve also seen family and friends sell their time to do work that they love. They are the ones who have inspired me most: my mother, my great uncle, and my grandfather.

My mother owns a graphic design agency, and she’s worked long hours since I can remember. But the hard work is worth it to her because she loves making things that make a difference in the community; she loves that she's built a successful business working out of our home, and she still finds time to spend with me and my brothers, Tyler and Luke. My great uncle Michael is also a great inspiration to me. He owned the Coors International Bicycle Classic, and spent his time making it one of the largest multi-state events in history. Now he has the time to travel across the globe chasing eclipses and working on projects and events that he enjoys- like the Jane Goodall Institute and the Extreme Ice Survey. My grandfather, at the age of 77, owns his own architecture firm, and still goes to work every day. Not because he has to, but because he loves the process of creating buildings- turning drawings into a physical reality.

I want to spend my time like they do- I don't want to live with the burden of financial stress or waste my life being unproductive. When I'm old and gray, I want to be able to look around at my time, cluttering glass cases, rolled into reams of memories and experiences, piled high on shelves and desks- and be happy. I want to feel that I spent my time well, invested it in things that have value—that truly matter—because I know what it's like to have a chunk of time ripped away from me.

During my junior year of high school I came down with meningoencephalitis. A virus broke through my spinal column and infected the meningeal tissue of my brain. I couldn't walk, think or feel my hands. I was taken by helicopter to the ICU ward at Oakland Children's Hospital, with an unknown chance of survival and a high chance of permanent brain damage. But I did survive. I not only survived, I fully recovered. It took several months and serious determination. My time could have been up, or how I would spend it almost permanently altered, and it was there, lying in the hospital bed feeling like a jackhammer was splitting my skull, that I realized just how valuable my time is.

Even now, while moments slide through my fingers and into this essay, I realize I do not know how much time I have left on this earth. I could have five years left or maybe one hundred and five- who knows? I just know what I enjoy doing with my time. I enjoy learning systems, solving puzzles and finding better solutions to problems. Even when I play video games, I practice strategies for saving, investing, and spending. And I know, as I venture out into the future, it’s about time. The time I have is precious; and I want to spend it making legacies and memories and moments of incalculable value.





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~Lauryn~ said...
Oct. 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm
This is a fabulous essay. I've been trying to write mine all day, not knowing exactly what I should be aiming for---I think I found it :) Great job!
 
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