Chasing Time :: Living Life with Chronophobia

We’ve all heard someone say it: “savor the moment,” but what about those of us who can’t seem to savor it because we are too busy obsessing over it? Maybe it’s just me though.

Maybe it’s some subconscious trigger stemmed by both myself and my husband losing a parent at a young age? Or maybe it’s because I’m approaching the same age my mother was when she died. Could it be because the world is so chaotic and busy that time is moving more rapidly than before? Or is it that we are so overstimulated by things like social media? Which as of late has seemed to center around tragedy and loss? Maybe that’s what triggered me to be hyper-aware of time itself.

I’m not even sure how or why this constant need to look at time differently began. What I do know is that it’s exhausting to continuously feel like there is NEVER ENOUGH TIME. 

What do you mean you look at time differently?

It’s hard to explain what my thought process is like. To have this constant need to memorize every detail of every moment. I beat myself up over it if I forget to take a picture. As if the moment will no longer exist if I don’t have proof of it. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many SD cards that I have maxed out with pictures last year alone. They often are of vacations, ball games, special events but there are equally as many filled with things of no particular significance. I want to capture every memory and engrave them all in my brain. I never want to run out of time.

I don’t want to forget the sound of all my girls laughing in unison because someone said something funny. I want to vividly remember the magic moment when my oldest found the perfect homecoming dress. To remember the feeling of butterflies that I get when my husband kisses me hello each night after work. Repeating in my mind the sound of their voices saying “I love you Mom”. Or the way the sun was shining on my toddler’s face as she nonchalantly ate her ice cream cone.

Because time just won’t stop passing.

It happens without me thinking about it. I break the day down to the most meticulous details. Where did I waste time? Why did I waste time? What if there is no more time? Then before I know it my mind carries me away. I’m Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole of my own thoughts. I get so fearful of losing time and I spend so much time chasing it that I seldom seem to savor it. 

Why can’t I stop?

Turns out there’s a name for this little gift of mine. Chronophobia, the fear of time. If you ask Google it will define it as an irrational yet persistent fear of time and of the passing of time. Yep, that about sums it up.

It’s not only the time that has passed.

It’s things to come too. The other day my oldest kiddo said “Mom! Can you believe I’m already halfway through my freshman year of high school?” I replied ”No, I truly can’t” I could feel the warmth welling up in my eyes and before I knew it the tears were rolling on to my cheeks. I wrapped her in my arms and whispered “I love you” and let the tears fall a little longer. Why would that sentence provoke such an emotional response? For no other reason than because time keeps passing.

You see I CAN’T believe this much time has passed or how little time I have left with her home. My mind takes over and I began visualizing things to come. I can see her waving goodbye as she pulls out of the driveway for the first time. I can see the framed high school graduation picture framed on my mantle. I can visualize the very last pitch she pitches in a college game. I can see college graduations, proposals, weddings, and grandbabies. The thoughts often snowball and the process always leaves me tired, fearful, and anxious.

My goal is peace in the present.

Hopefully, somewhere down the road, I can learn to be comfortable with being grounded in the present. That it’s okay to just be. That setting the phone or the camera down without the irrational fear of the moment passing by without a picture gets easier. I hope that instead of worrying about time I can learn how to enjoy the time and to embrace what time I do have instead of fear it. 

Christina Smith
Christina has been a Louisiana resident her whole life. She now resides in Youngsville with her husband of 15 years and their girl clan who they lovingly refer to as, “The Fabulous Five”. She is an ophthalmology nurse, Midwifery student/aspiring Midwife, Stillbirthday bereavement Doula, and homemade elderberry syrup slinger. Most weekends you can find her cheering on her girls at a softball game, as travel ball is their “family hobby”. She loves all things organic and holistic in nature. On any given day you can find her wearing essential oils and carrying crystals in her pockets. She is passionate about all things birth work, extended breastfeeding, and advocating for racial disparities in our local birth community.


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