Whether we know it or not, the relentless progress of time causes a great deal of stress. What we worry about often has to do with time. We're afraid of being late to a meeting, afraid of not using our time in the best possible way, afraid of running out of time, afraid of death.

Sometimes, we don't do the things we want to do because we think it's already too late. We haven't acquired the right skills in time and now it's too late to switch. That's why Quora is full of people asking questions like: I'm X years old, is it too late to learn coding?

The people asking these questions are often young, in their twenties or thirties, with entire careers ahead of them. But they've been led to believe that 24 is too old to learn how to program because we continuously hear and read about people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, who have been programming since their early teens and were enormously successful before they turned 30.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
- Pink Floyd, Time

Freeing yourself from the unnecessary pressure you place on yourself will help you lead a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life. This article will go over a few of the ways you can get rid of time anxiety.

How to Reduce Time Anxiety

No, It's Not Too Late

If you ever find yourself wondering whether you're too old for learning a new skill or starting a new career, the answer is almost always that you're not too old. If anything, agonizing over this question will only make you lose even more time. There's never been a better time to start than today, right now.

The reason we often think that we're too old is because we compare ourselves with the whizz-kids who became successful at an early age. But there are countless examples of people who became successful later in life too. Here are only a few:

  • Joseph Conrad spoke no English until he was 20.
  • Alan Rickman had no film roles until he was 28.
  • Vera Wang decided to become a designer when she was 40.
  • Sam Walton founded the first Walmart when she was 44.
  • Arianna Huffington founded the Huffington Post at 54.

Everyone has a unique timeline. Respect yourself and realize that you too are still capable of incredible things, whether you're in your twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, ...

Do What's Meaningful to You

If you often feel as if you're wasting time or running out of time, it's likely you're spending time on activities that you don't find meaningful. That's why you need to make space for activities that are meaningful to you.

If you don't know what those meaningful activities are, experiment. Try out new hobbies, meet new people, read different books, learn new skills. Don't overthink it either. See what gets you in a state of flow and do that for a while. If it clicks, stick with it. If it doesn't, move on.

It's hard to figure out what you like without getting a taste of this and that first. How can you know you like programming in Python before you've tried it? That's right, you can't. So play around until you find something you enjoy doing. Then get really good at it.

Cut Out Distractions That Produce Anxiety

Instead of doing the activities that we find meaningful, we often spend time doing things that are addictive but meaningless. Worse, these activities often produce anxiety and make us feel worse about ourselves.

The classic example is social media. There's little to gain from scrolling social media for long periods of time or from checking it once every hour. The same goes for news. Most news isn't exactly nourishing information and we'll probably all benefit from cutting a large slice of it out of our lives.

Replace these activities with activities that reduce anxiety, like working out, getting enough sleep, eating the right meals, meeting up with friends, meditating, etc. It'll be hard at first, because the bad activities are so addictive, and you'll probably come up with seemingly rational arguments why you should continue doing them, but push through these initial barriers to lead a life where you're more in control of yourself.

Time causes stress in many ways, but it's possible to reduce much of that anxiety by cutting out anxiety-producing distractions like social media, doing what's meaningful to you, and realizing that it's never too late to start something new. Being able to reinvent yourself at any stage of your life will make you equipped to deal with anything the 21st century throws at you.