They say that times goes faster with every year. It’s as if the reward for surviving a year on earth is to make you ever more aware of how little time you have left.
I remember being a young child, and the way that each season took on its own lifetime. Winter was endless repetitions of snowfall, sliding down snow mounds and frozen toes. Every school day contained an entire lifetime of social interactions, moments of boredom and waiting for the bell of freedom to ring at last.
Why did time move at such an oozing, ponderous pace?
And why does it race by now? Why does it seem like summer has hardly come when the leaves start to turn?
I don’t know. I don’t have any unique philosophical response for you.
But I do have a theory.
I think time seems to be racing by for adults because we have so damn many reminders of it hitting us on the head.
We wake up to an alarm, reminding us that the night just flew by while we were tossing and turning and trying to keep the ice pack on our elbow. We head for the coffee maker and realize that it’s time, again, to take our morning medicine.
Just looking at the weekly medicine dispenser is a reminder that another day has ticked off our lifetime. Every Saturday, we’re reminded by the empty slots in that dispenser that ANOTHER week is over, even though we swear we just filled this stupid thing like yesterday.
It’s the same when we hear the sound of the trash collector’s truck, and remember that it’s TRASH DAY again. AGAIN!!! Didn’t we just put the barrels back in the garage last night??
As if the hourly, daily and weekly reminders are enough, the bills remind us of the passing of every damn month, too. What? The mortgage is due already? Didn’t November just start? How is it fall already?
Am I ready for Christmas???
Little kids don’t note the passage of time because they don’t have to. They wake up for the most part when they are done sleeping. They eat when they’re hungry or when a meal magically appears in front of them.
A school year is 180 days of the exact same routine. Week after week after week, PE is on Friday at 10. Repeat that enough times when you are little, and it becomes as much a part of your life rhythms as your heartbeat.
But when you grow up, a school year if filled with things to remember. Open house, gym shoes day, drum lesson day, football practice season, vacations. The repetition of the year is filled with concrete reminders of its passing.
Jobs, bills, medical appointments, getting the snow tires put on, they all serve as reminders of time’s passage. The gentle spinning of earth isn’t a smooth and endless flow for adults, as it for kids.
Instead, it’s a furious train filled with deadlines, hurtling past us every minute of every hour of every single day. It’s filled with reminders that we need to hurry, that today is over, that autumn is waning, that our lives are one season or one hour shorter.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to slow that down and go back to savoring the endless days and weeks of summer vacation? I’d like to be able to do that.
Even if it meant forgetting to put out the trash once in a while.