Each new marker of time brings up the same conversation, be it new school year (September) or new calendar year (January).
‘Where has the time gone?’ ‘Time’s rushing away with me’; ‘The days are slipping by’…
I suspect these inevitable thoughts about time didn’t happen during childhood, but they seem to be a feature of adulthood, middle age especially. Why does time appear to speed up as you begin to use up more of it, relative to the length of your life?
Mothers count their days by the maturation of their children (or grandchildren). The baby who’s a week old already. The baby who’s a month old; a year old; at nursery; at school. Stages arrive like juggernauts: first child at school – major milestone.
All children at school – yippee!!/dread loneliness/didn’t really notice any difference (delete as appropriate).
All children at secondary school – hooray, no more car journeys/oh – longer car journeys/ who are they playing with now?/Luckily I don’t need to know who they’re playing with now (delete, as before).
All children left home: in terms of stages, A BIGGIE – relief?/utterly distraught/numb/didn’t really notice any difference, except in food bill…(delete, etc. etc).
How to stop that rushing feeling?
Whilst I’d love to be younger, I wouldn’t want to lose the wisdom gained, however. What we lose in youth, we gain in insight and hopefully we get ‘to number our days aright’, as the Psalmist urged (Psalm 90:12). It would seem impossible to combine the wisdom of age and the energy of youth, though maybe there’s a golden window around about 50 (here’s hoping…)
One way to ‘slow time’, therefore, is to make now precious. Each moment of stillness, with perhaps a candle lit, a brief pause in the rush of days, is sacred, an awareness that my life is a gift, and everything I am is precious to God the giver. I haven’t ‘lost’ (wasted) any time if I am still and at peace and given grace to recognise this moment as a gift.
In that moment of awareness, I may use up a further ten minutes of my life, but what I gain is NOW.