Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Underwater Children

In the imaginative painting of the playful underwater children, the little boy in the green pajamas started junior high yesterday. The little girl holding on to her blanket is on an intense trail ride this morning in the company of her father and brother.

Yesterday, I realized that the summer went so fast, I didn't even put out the cushions for the porch swing or pull the dining chairs out on the lower deck, and I'm thinking about calling the pool man to close the pool in two weeks.

When I saw a colleague for the first time after summer break, it seemed like there'd never been a break and I had to remind myself to give her a hug cause I hadn't seen her all summer.

Is time speeding up?

Is it? Two different thoughts:

Theory #1: If life is like a pie, when I was four years old, I had lived one fourth of my life. A fourth of a pie is a generous and enjoyable chunk.  As I aged, each year diminished the portion of the pie. When I'm 90 years old, each year of my life will be the equivalent of 1/90th of a piece of pie. If the pie stays the same, 1/90th is a pretty slim portion of pie or of time. In comparison, 1/4 of time is a much bigger chunk than 1/90th and would therefore seem to go much faster. Right?

Theory #2 Time flies when you're having fun. Am I having more fun? Absolutely. Does time still fly for an older person suffering ill health? I wish I would have asked Dad.

The warp speed of time-passing may have several positive effects. Knowing time is fleeting gives it a higher price tag. Each moment, encounter, each day is more valuable. We tend to protect and care more for the valuable. When Tony bought his first "nice" car, he treated it well. When we only have one day at the beach or have the company of a far away cousin, we put a high value on that time.

The warp speed of passing-time may help us endure the difficult. While sitting in the dentist chair, I try to recall a different difficult experience. Pregnancy may pop into my mind--that my last pregnancy was 24 years ago, and where did those 24 years go? helps me to endure the little bit of time with the whir of a drill.

The tricky part of time is that it is--tricky. The most precious time with the most precious people can't be anticipated or valued because we don't know how much time we have with one another. Tony's father fell and was gone within an hour. His kind, sweet mother lamented, "I wish I'd been better to him." She couldn't have anticipated time was so short.

It's a hard way to motivate ourselves to treasure time by dwelling on how little we may have left. The better motivation may be to remind ourselves how much time we may have left.