Speed of Time
It surprises me how fast time races by. Month over month, year after year it seems to go faster and faster. So fast I feel time closing in on me. There was a time I could say, and did say "I have seventy years ahead of me!" Now I think to myself "If I'm healthy I have forty years ahead of me."
I'm not complaining. Nor am I trying to come off as depressed or depressing. It's just that when I was a child time seemed to move in slow motion - so many hours in a day. There was time to do everything and anything I wanted, and some. Summer vacation seemed so long I actually started to get excited for school to start again. Of course, that excitement died after day two.
The thrill of being back in school gone, the count down to the next break began. The slow crawl of time was watched eagerly anticipating Christmas break. "Oh...Santa." Didn't it seem like forever before he arrived? I mean, even when the holiday was upon us - only days before the big day, and yet those final days crawled so painfully past - the lights, the music, and all the decorations building the anticipation. As a small child, I was so eager for Santa, that when the day finally arrived I was nauseous.
Next up was March break. Again, time crawled; and when March break did finally come, the two weeks we had were long!
Finally summer break again. It felt like we had an entire year inside those two and a bit months.
With every year I wished for the next big birthday. First, ten because I was finally double digits. Second, was thirteen because I was finally a teenager. Next sixteen. Oh... sweet sixteen. Practically an adult. HA! Right! Then eighteen. Now an adult and legal in Quebec. Still laughable at the adult part but closer. I never needed to go to Quebec bars as I had been able to get into Ottawa bars without issue. I think my friends all being older and I was cute helped, but still, I was legal if I chose to go. Nineteen - legal in Ottawa. Still didn't need my ID, but great to be out and not have to worry about it. Twenty-one - legal everywhere! I was a mom of a one-year-old but still cool to be twenty-one.
Side note: The lack of ID requests is not so exciting anymore. I'm certain I am not alone here... but I think it would be great Customer Service if the liquor store, beer store, or the odd bartender asked for ID anyway. Just saying.
Mom and dad, and just about every adult I knew would tell me with each milestone I wished to hurry up and arrive "Don't rush time. It goes fast enough, and as you get older it just goes faster."
I didn't understand that. Time was time. How could it possibly go faster? I mean, a minute will always be '60 seconds'. An hour will always be 60 minutes. A day will always be twenty-four hours. A week, well, you get the point. How could that speed up?
Holy crap it goes fast, and as time started picking up for me I found myself telling my kids the same thing.
I still don't know how it happens. I mean, I am just as busy as I was in my youth. It's a different busy but busy just the same. I mean, what's different other than the 'what' I am busy with?
As a child I went to school / As an adult I go to work
As a child I noted the date every day at school / As an adult I note the date every day
As a child I sometimes watched the clock to the end of the school day / As an adult I sometimes watch the clock to the end of the workday
As a child I anticipated upcoming events or holidays, eagerly counting down the days / As an adult I still anticipate events or holidays, eagerly counting down the days
As a child I was busy with social events and events my parents scheduled for us / As an adult I can barely fit in social events and drag my kids to gatherings we are required to be at
As a child I had after school hobbies / As an adult I have after work hobbies
As a child I was busy on the weekend / As an adult I am still busy on the weekend
Nothing has changed. I have the same busy schedule, just different. In fact, the only thing that has changed is in those slow moving days is I slept as most kids/teens do - most of my days away. At least the ones I didn't have school on. Still, in those days time crawled by. Now, sleeping far less the days still zoom on and are gone.
People say a watched pot never boils, and I've noticed a watched clock doesn't move. In fact, some days it seems to stop, or worse, move backward! Yet, another week, another month, another year has unbelievably flown past. How is that possible?
I still feel sixteen. I still remember events that happened thirty years ago, twenty years ago, like they were yesterday. I still remember the smells, music, the feel of the sun on a particular memory like it just happened. I can still see where the sun sat in the sky in some of my memories. As I think back to a particular event I can hear the overlapping of voices, the music that played. I can even hear the laughter and know who it belongs to. In my home now, the memories as if playing on a movie reel flood in of my now grown children playing in their rooms. I can hear the constant chatter, the two arguing over everything, and I remember moments of chaos. It should all be distant memories, vague, blotchy, but none of it is. It is all so clear. I see it all and I feel it all.
It confuses me even more, how even as we notice the time speeding up, leaving us with less of it ahead of us how we wish the day, the week, the season to hurry up and get here or to be over. Isn't that ridiculous?
We don't want to leave this beautiful earth. We don't want to get older but we keep wishing it away. We can't wait to climb that ladder at work. We look forward to a certain year of service and earning more vacation - to take that vacation, to Christmas, to the weekend, to the next long weekend.
We don't want our children to grow but we can't wait until they sleep through the night. We can't wait until they crawl or walk, until they give us that first drooly kiss, until they say their first word or for the best kid hug ever. We can't wait until they are big enough that we don't need to pack like we are leaving for the weekend just to go to the store. Some parents get excited for school to start, or like the other 'me's' of the world that can't wait for the next school break so the schedule can relax.
As we unintentionally wish the precious years of our children's lives away we start to look forward to the day we can rediscover who we are. We dream of the day we are able to retire. We dream of grandchildren making our homes loud again. We dream of what we will do in a week, in a few months or next year.
We don't want...We can't wait for... yet we wish for it all to hurry up and get here or to pass, and as it does we wonder where the time went, and wish for a time we could return to.
So I am left with the same question, and I am asking you. As time continues to race on and we continue to eagerly anticipate the future, why do we continually look back always asking the same question "Where did the time go?"