Words of Wisdom: Time

Breanne Tepler

I think I’ve always had a good sense about how precious time is, but it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I really realized its true value. I spent my college days similarly to the way you are. I filled my time with class, work, homework, friends and the occasional afternoon nap on a couch in the Kirby Student Center at UMD.

When I was 25 years old, my father died of suicide. For months after he passed, time was a totally different concept. Some days felt like they lasted forever and some days went by so fast I couldn’t remember them. I spent a lot of time remembering everything I could about him. I spent a lot of time regretting not spending more time with him.

Three years later, when I was 28 years old, my brother was killed in a car accident. Again, time stood still but sped up all at once. I started to notice my children were growing up while I didn’t feel a day older. In some ways I didn’t want to move forward in a world where I didn’t have my dad and brother.

Losing two immediate family members in three years will change a person. For example, I hold very little value to stuff or things. I have no problem throwing things away when I no longer use them. Another difference is how I feel about pictures. When you have planned two funerals, you realize how very few pictures you have of your loved ones. I take a lot of pictures now. Lastly, experiences are everything to me. The experiences we have result in memories that last our entire lives. We will always have a use for memories.

I wish someone had told me back then how to talk about time. I was saying things like “I don’t have time.” Instead, I should have been saying “I can’t make time for that or I don’t want to spend time on that.” The truth is we all have time and we all get the same amount of time. When you tell someone you don’t have time, you’re just avoiding saying the truth which is, “I choose not to spend my time on that.” Be honest with yourself and others by talking about time differently.

Your college years will take up a lot of time, but you get holiday and semester breaks. During that time, you get to choose how you’re going to spend it. I suggest you partake in experiences that will create memories that will last you a lifetime. Visit with your family. Go on road trips with your friends. Say yes to a day of adventure, even if all you want to do is put on Netflix and not move from the couch.

I also recommend you get creative with your gift giving. Instead of buying your family stuff, buy them an experience. This would include things like tickets to a concert, the symphony or a museum. Plan a trip. Take out a map, like one of those old school paper maps (yes they still make those), close your eyes and pick a destination. You don’t need to experience loss the way I have to appreciate time the way I do. Hopefully, this article is motivation enough.

Breanne Tepler is an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Graduate & Extended Studies and a current student in the Master’s in Management program.