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On Getting Older

Posted by RickH · August 18th, 2008 · 3 Comments

The days go by so fast, spinning out of control.  The nights — nights of precious and necessary sleep seem to run by even faster.  Before I know it, another is gone.  I shower, lather up my hair and think: “Didn’t I just do this a minute ago?”

Why does the time fly?  I still remember (and remember like it was yesterday!), after an argument with my mother, yelling, “I can’t wait until next year!” And I remember being unable to wait; the days then dragged.  I swear that when I was 17, a year lasted at least twice as long as it does now.  Inflation?  Each breath costing even more seconds than the one which came before?

I have a theory about this:  When we learn a new skill, we step through it at first slowly, haltingly.  Whether it’s a new motor skill, like swinging a golf club to hit the ball just so — or to hit it at all! ( how does Tiger Woods do that?!) — or learning how to add, subtract, multiply, or divide, we struggle in the beginning.  With practice comes familiarity and we not only need to think less of how to do the thing, we begin to do it without thinking.  Without noticing.

I think time is like that.  Each second that passes, each minute, each hour, each day and before we know it, each year etches experience with time onto our brains.  As new ones are added to the total of those we’ve lived, subtracted from those we have left, the cares of adulthood multiply, dividing our attention.  This causes us to think less of how we do a thing; we begin to do most without thinking.  It’s a new kind of familiarity we’re developing, but a familiarity that tends to breed wistfulness, not contempt.

Why does the time fly? I cannot ponder this one any longer.  I wash the shampoo from my hair.  Time to take a swing at another day.

Categories: Personal Life · Philosophy

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike Hamilton // Aug 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Well stated. I think it goes to a broader level too. That our minds learn our routine which creates an entire day or period (say M-F) where we are almost on autopilot. It stinks really. I think human beings need a way to split their time up such that priorities other than work can be enjoyed during different parts of the day to help break routine. Sadly, we are creatures of habit hell bent on enforcing routine on everyone else. That must be where 8-5 came from.

  • 2 Jackie Styles // Aug 28, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Quit whining you dang Liberal! You need to start having more fun.

    Then all that time that has passed will be worth something to you.

  • 3 Lee // Aug 27, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Wow, am I ever late to the party. I’ve tried to figure out the difference between the perceived passage of time at different ages and, while you make some good points, I think for me it comes down to having something to look forward to. When you’re a kid there is constantly something you’re waiting for with anticipation. The months and days until your next birthday or Christmas or summer vacation drag on forever because you look forward to them with such longing and anticipation. When you’re all grown up the number of things you wait for is reduced to almost nothing which makes one day look almost exactly like every other and they pass mostly unnoticed. Maybe that has something to do with it.

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