I have never thought of myself as a control freak. Until yesterday when, while having a conversation with a friend, I realized that I am a major control freak when it comes to time. I like to have plans materialize my way, and when they don’t, I go berserk and get quite pissed off.
I’m all like: “Oh you must meet me this weekend, because the next weekend, I’m going to be busy working on some stuff, and if you don’t meet me, you shall suffer my wrath.” Like, what the hell is that? Who am I to make demands on people’s time like that, even if they are my friends? And what is the point of constantly planning in advance? Things hardly ever work out exactly the way I want so why do I obsess over them so much beforehand? I am perplexed by my own behaviour, and hence here’s my attempt to analyse and decode it:
At a psychological level, I think my time-fixation may be because of my upbringing. I come from a family of disciplinarians who like to have things done in a particular way at a particular time, all the time. They are never late for anything (always too early) and hate waiting, even for five minutes. I grew up under a broad notion of “_ thing must be done at _ time or else…” This means that mentally, I am always anticipating what to do next, right from the moment I wake up in the morning. Like: “After class, I’ll eat. After eating, I’ll go to my room and rest for a bit. Then, I’ll wash clothes before 4p.m, then come out for tea, then go back and start on that assignment, etc. etc.”
I remember when I first came to hostel, every evening I would be planning when and where to eat dinner right from 6p.m, and my friend would look at me like I was crazy. She would decide only when she felt hungry, whereas I just needed to KNOW all the time, even if it meant planning my hunger. :P
All this makes me sound like the minor character nicknamed “Timetable” in the movie Dil Chahta Hai, but thankfully, my condition is not that bad. I don’t believe in routines set in stone but I just like to know what I’m doing when. I’m the kind of person who will check what day my birthday or a festival falls on right at the start of a new year so I can begin planning possibilities of what I could do that day.
Sometimes, I completely freak out thinking that I’m behind on the “schedule of life”, as I like to think of it. Friends my age and younger are getting married or at least engaged and I’ve never even dated. Others have fancy jobs or are travelling the world and I’m still studying and not clear of when I’ll have that dream career. Everyday, the earth seems to be spinning faster and faster and the days are shorter and shorter, and everyone seems to be getting somewhere except me. It’s as if I’m left thinking: “When oh when will my LIFE truly start (read: take off)?”
At a more emotional level of analysis, I think this condition is because I am so worried about time running out. It always does in the end, doesn’t it? There are never enough hours to spend with friends and loved ones or enjoy or stay young or just do all the things one wants to. If I was in the movie In Time, in which the world comes to a situation where time is literally money, and if you run out of it, you die, I would probably have a heart attack just coping with the stress of living-day-to-day, not knowing whether I’ll have enough time to make it to tomorrow.
Yet despite all this, the funny part is that I’m still a great procrastinator. I obsess over time but still have the gall to waste it and while it away doing absolutely nothing. And when that happens, I feel worse still, knowing that time’s a ticking away…
A still from the movie In Time. If your clock runs out, you die. Obviously. Majorly freaky stuff.