I can’t believe 2015 charged out of the gate days ago. I’ve been holding onto its horns ever since, trying my best to be completely alert and engaged, all while enjoying the ride. It’s how I want my whole year to be.
The way life seems to speed along—and continually gain momentum—isn’t a new phenomenon for many adults. (Though even my two tween daughters mind it once in a while.) Neither is, I suspect, the acceptance that the faster time goes, the more significant it becomes, and how much bigger our job is to make the most of what we have.
Yada yada. I could go on about how important perspective is, how it fluctuates for us, about how life over time is cyclical, but instead I’ve compiled some of what I found to be the most insightful thoughts related to the passage of time.
In 3… 2… 1… (See what I did there?)
“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where your pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.” — Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
“She knew that this day, this feeling, couldn’t last forever. Everything passed; that was partly why it was so beautiful. Things would get difficult again. But that was okay too.” — Lauren Oliver, Panic
“Time does not pass, it continues.” — Marty Rubin
“Life is defined by time, appreciate the beauty of time.” — Lailah Gifty Akita
“Life’s impermanence, I realized, is what makes every single day so precious. It’s what shapes our time here. It’s what makes it so important than not a single moment be wasted.” — Wes Moore
“Everything turns slower when she’s not around, but when she’s with me, an hour feels like a blink of an eye.” — Rea Lidde
“Time has this way of slowing down and speeding up, depending on how it feels.” — Carol Lynch Williams, Waiting
“Time is your only enemy, it disappears very quickly and never gives you a second chance.”– Steve Douglas
This, you might say, is our time.
Yep, time sure does fly when you’re not looking.
I didn’t know any better.
When my boys were teenagers and I continued to work outside of the home, I believed that the days and hours and minutes would slow down once I was no longer helping with homework and playing chauffeur and working so many gosh-darn overtime hours.
I still didn’t know any better.
The year my mom turned 65, I said, “Mom, time is whooshing past. I can’t wait till the boys grow up and life slows back down.”
My mother looked at me with wisdom in her eyes. “If you think it’s fast now, just wait till you’re my age.”
I didn’t believe her.
And yet, now that my boys are grown up and on their own, now that I’ve stepped out of the daily commute rat race and work from home, now that it feels like I’m not rushing here and there 24/7, time continues to pick up pace.
I’ve talked to my boys and they concur. Those childhood and teenage years crawled past with all of the urgency of a snail crossing the road. But we all agree that the moment we turned the corner into adulthood, time shifted into overdrive.
How can that be? Why does it sometimes seem that the hours in a single day drag on endlessly, yet the passage of time from one Christmas to another happens in the blink of an eye? And if time speeds by faster each year, what will it be like at 95 or 100?
Do you know of a way to slow down time? Or is the ever increasing passage of time all hogwash and you recommend I get my head examined?
Thanks for stopping by to talk to me today!
Back in high school, I had a crush on a guy. He was cute and funny and a year older than I was. He also had a girlfriend who went to a different school, which meant that as long as she was in the picture, he was off limits.
But I liked this guy and we became friends. Sure, there was some flirting. Mostly we hung around outside of classes and he let me store my books in his locker because my locker was way down at the other end of the school.
Storing my books in his locker was a great way to ensure I would constantly run into him between classes. It was a brilliant plan, one of the best catch-a-guy plans I ever devised. Unfortunately, he still had a girlfriend.
During those first two months of the school year, our friendship blossomed. In late October, with the Sadie Hawkins dance approaching – you know the one where the girl gets to ask the guy to the dance? – I wanted to ask him to be my date. But at fifteen, my experience with dating was minimal. Mostly the guys I had crushes on just wanted to be friends and the guys who had crushes on me … well, I just wanted to be their friend.
I kept hearing that he was still with this other girl, and even though I was pretty sure it was all over between them – all but the final “we’re done” – I kept finding excuses not to ask him to the dance. If you want to know the truth, I was chicken. I was scared of rejection and scared of looking like a fool and scared of losing his friendship.
I lost it anyway.
Deep down, I knew my locker guy liked me, a lot, and was waiting for me to ask him to the dance. Perhaps if he’d broken up with his other girlfriend, I might have been braver. Perhaps if my friends weren’t pressuring me to ask their boyfriends’ buddy to the dance instead, I might have gathered up my courage and made my move.
Instead, I asked the other guy, and the budding relationship between me and my locker guy disintegrated until I finally gave up hope and moved back to my own locker. Other than the occasional nod as we passed in the hallway, he spent the rest of high school ignoring me.
He came to the dance alone, and I’m sure he expected me to be solo, too. Immediately after the dance, he changed. Even back then, I wondered if it was my fault. He dropped his girlfriend and began to hang around with a crowd of kids heavy into booze and drugs, and from what I could tell, spent most of his days high or drunk. Years later, I ran into him and we had a polite conversation. He’d never married, lived alone, and worked as an electrician in the oilfield industry.
Shortly afterward, I saw his obituary in the paper. He’d died, either from the drugs or alcohol, or a combination of the two. I still think of him sometimes and wonder if his life would’ve been different if I’d been brave enough to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. Or if his life was predestined to end up as it did and had I dated him, would I have been caught up in the murky mess of his life?
Do you ever look back and wonder if your actions could’ve made a difference in someone’s life? Or do you think we’re predestined to live our life a certain way?