If you visited my apartment, you would know that it is always somewhere between 9:50 and 9:51am. Because although the day seems to revolve in its normal twenty-four hour circuit with the sunrise, sunset and all the other sun-movements, in my apartment it is always between those precious minutes. This doesn’t affect the timeliness of my roommates or I at all. We have learned to ignore the time. How does this happen, you ask? Because, my dear friends, my clock is broken — and it has been since last year. Did this stop me from hanging it in a prominent place on the largest wall in the common room?
It didn’t matter to me that this shiny round orange orb of Ikea-esque glory would be forever doomed to oscillate between two seemingly fateful minutes of 9:50 and 9:51am. Never mind that the minute and hour hand are completely paralyzed on the 9 and 50 digits and that only the second hand struggles valiantly like a persistent metronome, bouncing back and forth between the white lines. It is almost as if the second hand cannot decide whether to make the commitment to 51 or whether to stay within the comfort of 50. A new level of time telling awaits it, but it cannot quite muster up the strength or, dare I say, courage to land solidly upon that next minute.
Maybe I took it a bit far with the whole second-hand-having-emotions-and-goals thing. Maybe I am too attached to this wonderfully transcendent — but at the same time personal — device of human invention. Maybe I should finally acquiesce to my roommates’ constant requests that we throw away the broken piece of machinery and buy a clock that actually works. But where is the fun in that, I ask? Because, dear readers, my broken orange clock tells of things beyond mere mortal comprehension, and holds between its hour and minute and second hands more meaning that any other time-telling instrument.
I realize that I probably sound completely crazy right now, but hear me out. My broken orange clock may not tell “real world” time, but it tells the time that we are in right now in our lives as students. We are all of us somewhere between morning and mid-morning. We’ve finished breakfast so we’re primed and ready to go for the day. We have our lists, our schedules, our dreams and ambitions, and all we need is to just kick over into that next minute or that next (pardon the cheesy reference) time of our lives. We’ve been instructed, lectured, disciplined, trained and whatever other verb you can think of that would describe our lives at Pepperdine thus far. If we have taken advantage of opportunities available, then are we would appear well equipped to take over the world. It’s 9:50 in the apartment of our lives, and we just need that extra battery, that extra push to get us to 9:51.
Sure we may not know what the heck to do with our lives (I think I have sufficiently exhausted that topic in my previous two articles even though it bears repeating several times, usually over a pint of cookie dough ice cream. Not to say I am without purpose. Rather, I am without clear and definite direction. Boom. Established. Let’s move on already. (Sorry, I’m obsessive and annoying, remember?) But we know we must do something.
That brings us to existentialism as defined by my broken orange clock.
We may be caught in this particular Pepperdine time warp between minutes. Freshman year is overwhelming because we are thrown into a pile of all this stuff we could do, and we end up doing too much or nothing at all. Sophomore year is overwhelming because we are abroad and stressing out that we are not being adventurous enough, or we are in Malibu and stressing out that all our friends have forgotten us. Junior year is overwhelming because, well, it’s junior year. And senior year is overwhelming because, oh wait, you’re leaving now. Bye! Wow, talk about a time warp. Talk about four years that could just fly by without ever moving from 9:50 to 9:51.
I have this weird fantasy that one day my clock will just start working again. That one day it will kick into 9:51 and the day will progress onward. I know this is probably impossible, but still, it can’t hurt to hope, right? #morecheesylines — but whatever, you get my meaning. One day maybe the earth will have a cataclysmic magnetic eruption and my clock will just spark to the great beyond. You see, the pre-push before the actual push into 9:51 is where the work happens.
Oh, work. It never ends, does it? Take heart, dear friends, because this work is worth it. After all: without the work, none of the prepping and priming and training and learning would account for anything. The work is good. That slight movement from minute to minute may be the equivalent of scaling mountains of homework, internships, extracurriculars, commitments and stresses. But have courage, dear friends, to do the work and to reach deep within your battery reserve and push yourself over into 9:51. No more waiting, no more oscillating — and, good heavens, no more excuses. Let us charge forth with our second hands waving and our feet carrying us into the great unknown. Clichés aside, I wish you all the best.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330