Time of our own | Inquirer Opinion

Time of our own

There’s nothing in “an hour left” that is synonymous with “I am late,” a couple of words I utter whenever time is winning over me. All my life, I felt like I had been competing with time. From the moment I first arrived late in class to facing constant deadlines. It has been in every inch of my existence, in every dimension of the world.

I spent my younger years until I was seven under the care of my grandmother, whom I affectionately call Mama. As someone who grew up in a less privileged household, I fully understand how hard it is to make ends meet. Wearing hand-me-down uniforms and improvising with borrowed essentials like a flat iron reflected our resourcefulness amid financial constraints. I saved not because I wanted to buy something but just in case we didn’t have enough money to buy rice.

That’s precisely why being a consistent honor student was the only achievement I could take pride in. Each medal symbolized my dedication and hard work, a tangible reward for my efforts. And it was something I felt in my heart the most. But it wasn’t all rosy. I was in Grade 2 when I greeted my grandmother with the heartbreaking news that I was no longer on the honors list.

The burnout I felt from then on was more persistent than getting back on track. After I moved in with my siblings and my birth mother in Cavite, I never felt the pride I once had. But rather a longing sentiment for my achievements.


As I got older, time became my detestable enemy. I started to hate how it controlled everything. Like how the breathing of the clock seemed to signal a declaration of war. How fast can I answer the mathematical problem on the board? Can I outpace the speed of its uneven reversible fingers swiftly pointing at each number on the clock? Yet the sharp ticking sound proved otherwise—I couldn’t, never, unless I embodied time itself. I finished answering it too late.

My abhorrence for time grew stronger, prompting me to question its purpose.What is the essence of time if it couldn’t rewind the past or travel to the future? I could never go back to fix my mistakes. I will never ace the exam I failed before. It was simply running too fast that I couldn’t keep up and ended up being left behind.

Time raced ahead. I was late again. Why doesn’t time just fade away? Does it find joy in my reluctance to embrace every opportunity knocking on my door? From deciding to decline the offer to learn chess just because there would be nothing left for my academic studies to the fear of failing more than once. But then I never learned to play chess and never again became an achiever. I ended up being the representative of all the girls out there who spent their whole time clapping at everyone’s triumph.I was late, again, for the third time.

Days, months, and years passed in a relentless battle against time, yet it continued to humiliate me in every possible way. Its demeaning demeanor is exactly why I hated time with every core of my soul. I despised it for being insufficient, that it never was enough for me to learn new things.


I loathed it because all I had to say was “I am late.” But more than anything else, I abhorred myself—for not keeping up, for falling short of my aspirations. That is why, when my senior high school journey started, I vowed to challenge time one last time. I vowed to win it over.

But from the first poetry contest I joined to the various events I participated in, I realized that I would never really win over time. Because time was never my enemy in the first place. It was never competing with me at all. Those memories are made by taking time, embracing moments, and exploring my capabilities without feeling pressured; without the thought that you need to win to prove you’re worthy of honor.


Time could never help me to go back in time, but it can help me try and discover new things.

In the end, time wasn’t the one that was running too fast. It was me trying too hard to achieve things I once had before not realizing medals weren’t the only thing that symbolized my hard work. Through time, I learned to cherish little moments while venturing into something completely beyond my comfort zone. Time taught me that I will never find my true power and strength by rushing things and that true opportunities do not only arise from taking risks and exploring but also from making the most of moments.Because just like trees that bloom, success also needs time to be nourished. It’s up to us to see what is beyond the surface.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Lynsel Fernandez, 16, is an accountancy, business, and management student with a deep passion for creative writing.


© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.