Time Flies When You're Living

Sometimes I'm temped to believe some of those New Agers who say that the superior intellects they think run our universe like to muck about with time as we know it, speeding it up to help us evolve faster and slowing it down to allow us time to grown and learn. Now, I'm not going to get into all that Star Seed stuff, or even what the hell time is to begin with. I'll leave that to the visionaries and quantum physicists. My point is much simpler: Time is passing much too quickly for my liking.

When I was a kid time dragged. A term of school and waiting for Christmas each year took forever. In my twenties and early thirties, the passage of time seemed about right. I had enough of it ahead of me that I could party and still have enough of it left over to hold down a job and provide for my family. Then something happened. How quickly I got from 33 to 59 makes no sense at all, and how my body continues to age while the person inside--I--can remain at about 33 baffles me.

Something in my head keeps thinking that this is all just a really weird acid trip and that eventually I'll come down and I'll be 33 again. I'll be the wiser for the experience and I'll go on to make better choices. Then I have my first coffee of the day and I remember that this is just life.

I can't help it. In some ways I feel like life is starting to wind down for me now and that's why I've gone back to meditating. We of western civilization tend to think of time as a commodity that we must spend, rather than allow to pass. The former is the sign of a productive, contributing citizen after all, and the later is the sign of a slacker. But looking down the gun barrel of life, I reflect on what I've done with my brief run on this planet. I've raised children, I've worked, I've been a good parent and friend, I've put out a huge body of creative work, and I've probed the mysteries of life and am all the more spiritual for it. These aren't bragging points, they're reasons why I feel a little down time is due me.

So how the heck did I get to this age without recognizing what was looking back at me in the mirror? I'm fortunate that wrinkles don't run in our family. True, I have the Wolcotts' excess eyelid skin and the Wallers' ever-growing, already too-prominent proboscis, but other than those things, I really don't look any the worse for wear despite my fragile health. But finding myself at 60 (why bother with 59, which is just a semi-colon in the life sentence?) has taken me completely by surprise.

The good thing is that I'm finally learning how to live in the present. This doesn't mean that I don't still dream or set goals for myself, and it certainly doesn't mean that I've attained some level of enlightenment. It simply means that I'm too tired of chasing down goals to want to bother. To use an analogy. My life is like a park: I spent my youth running through it, my young adulthood jogging through it, and my mature adulthood walking through it. Now I'm sitting on a bench feeding the squirrels and enjoying the view. I watch the children in the playground and I watch, amused, at everyone else rushing by, too busy to notice what's going on around them.

It's a nice place to be. I just wish our stay here was longer or that the sensation of time didn't speed up the older we get. But maybe it will slow down for me now. Maybe living in the present is the key. Maybe we come full-circle and our so-called second childhood really is that: an opportunity to slow the clock down and live for each day again.

I'll let you know in about twenty years.


  1. I think I need new glasses. I first read

    It simply means that I'm too tired of chasing down goals to want to bother.


    It simply means that I'm too tired of chasing down goats to want to bother.

    It took me a few seconds of trying to figure out how barnyard animals got involved before I understood that I misread it. :-)

  2. No. And I don't stare at goats either, although I've tried in one form or another ;)

  3. It gave me a jolt - reading your post. I have been feeling very mortal since arriving at 65 this year. When I look back to what I remember in my youth my seems so long. But when I look back to when I met my life partner it seems so short. PS: There are lots of goats in Palestine.

  4. Is that goat, as in "old goat"? *ducks*

  5. Time perception seems to be pretty much the same for everyone....childhood-interminable;.... young adulthood-moving along quickly but you're having fun so you don't really notice;.... middle adulthood-never enough time to do it all, busy, busy, busy all the time, days too short, sure wish I had more time!....older adult, I'll slow down when I retire, then time won't go by so fast and I'll be able to stop and smell the roses;....senior adulthood -- retired, not so many demands on our days, surely time won't seem to go so fast; realization hits that time never slows down, in fact, it just keeps getting faster and faster and we are all running out of time;....elderly -- grateful for the time you have, knowing that it's getting short, time still moving too quickly and it won't be much longer till there is no time left for you. Acceptance and hopefully, peace.

    I have no idea where the last 8 years have gone! Seriously, all of a sudden I am 64 years old and no matter how you slice it, there is more time behind you than there is ahead of you. Actually, I find the whole thing depressing as hell!

  6. beautiful. that almost made me cry.


  7. I'm still trying to figure out where the goats and ducks come into play... I found all of this very confusing.

    Actually... I enjoyed this post, and I too have noticed how slow a year seemed when I was younger.

    I wake up and think... I am forty-one? When the hell did that happen?


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