The 24-hour Cycle



The 24-hour cycle. 

1 am  2 am 3 am 4 am 5 am 6 am 7 am 8 am 9 am 10 am 11 am 12 pm

1 pm 2 pm 3 pm 4 pm 5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 8 pm 9 pm 10 pm 11 pm 12 am 

It seems like a lot of time, right? We spend eight hours sleeping—some more and some less. We spend a few hours on school or work, maybe even both. We still have some time left. We have 24 hours every single day for 365 days. Nonetheless, why does it seem that time is a living entity? Why does time seem to stand still, walk slowly, and run fast? Why do the same 24 hours seem so different every day for everyone? 

Let’s break it down, shall we? Let’s say you have five hours of school. You sleep for a total of eight hours, and it takes you three hours to eat, complete all chores and freshen up. You have eight hours left. You take a one-hour break; you have seven hours left. That should be enough time for you to work on a lot of things, right? But what if we say you are part of a big family where your sibling, younger or older than you, seems to need help? What if we say your parent calls you every 15 minutes to fix the wifi? What if you are surrounded by external factors that ultimately make it impossible for you to sit down and work for a few hours? A few calls later, you can finally start working. Everyone is sleeping, and there are no longer any distractions; you look at the time…time reads 10:24 pm… and you release a breath because you know you’ll have to pull an all-nighter. So with a silent prayer and a sip of water, you get to work. 

Now, let’s take a pause and look at someone else. Maybe a friend. A classmate. Even an influencer. Someone who’s just a tiny bit different from you. They have five hours of school. They sleep a total of eight hours, and just like you, it takes them three hours to do everything else. Just like you, they even squeeze in an hour to relax and watch their favourite TV show. Just like you, they have seven hours left to do all they need. Now…what’s the difference? Let’s say they are part of a family of four. Their dad has gone to sleep, their little sibling is put to bed by their mom, and shortly after, their mom goes to sleep. They’ve done all their chores, so they can now focus and relax. They now sit down and get ready to work. A few hours pass; A short glance at the clock and they see it’s 10:24 pm… With a sigh of relief, they fix their stuff and go to bed. 

Now, let me ask you, do we all have the same 24 hours? 

Yes. Yes, we do. 

But what makes those two routines so similar yet so different? What enables one person to fall asleep at their desk hunched over while the other falls asleep in their bed with their covers? It is the degree of tasks, goals, and expectations each of us has. It is the key element that dictates our ability to truly take control of all 24 hours. Unfortunately, not everybody has the freedom to depend on other people for help or assistance. Some students would take part-time jobs to gain financial stability, others spend their days in the kitchen cooking and cleaning to help their families, and the remainder are lucky enough not to have to worry about it. The question of whether or not we all have the same 24 hours is simple. We do. But what makes it controversial and an argumentative topic is the fact that some fail to consider the differences each of us has. The different expectations and responsibilities we are forced to face each day. Some would need more time to recharge while some only take an hour or three. Some of us do sports, and some of us don’t. 

Now, of course, it is also important to truly know what you want and what your priorities are. Yes, we have external influences that completely influence how each of our days goes, but we can also take control of our time and set boundaries. Set aside a few hours to help out. Set a few hours aside for flexibility just in case something happens, and you would have to shift your focus. Break down your time to truly see when and where you are able to complete your tasks. 

But as I said, we all live different lives with different expectations. Some might find it easier to say no, and some might not. However, it is important to keep in mind that whatever we do with our time, we should not fall into the ignorance and flawed perception that ‘if a person wants to, they will’. Because time waits for no one. It does not care if you are tired. It does not care if you are happy or sad. Time will go on. Yes, you get to choose what you do within 24 hours, but it is not always a black-and-white matter. The complexity of time is subjective to every single one of us. The 24-hour cycle is constant. It does not change. However, we do. Our daily lives change, and so do our responsibilities. We all have the same 24 hours, but we do not have the same lives. And sadly, that is the truth of the 24-hour cycle. 

What about you? Do you think we all have the same 24 hours?