Monday, January 22, 2024

The years pass so quickly...yet sometimes they don't

A woman at our church recently celebrated her 102nd birthday. If she's still around a couple of years from now, she will probably have fairly clear memories of events that happened a full century ago.

This is mind boggling.

Then again, almost everything about the passage of time amazes me. It's like that saying "the days are long but the years are short."

Individual days don't exactly pass slowly for me, but they feel every bit as long as they are (if that makes sense). This is probably because I'm still in the slog of daily work and routine. Often the span of time from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon feels like a week.

I may have a different mindset in, say, 15 years when I hope to be retired. At that point, as I approach my 70s, those same days and weeks will probably fly by with distressing swiftness.

Right now what flies by are the years. Without looking at a calendar, my sense is that it's 2013. Maybe 2015. There's no way it's 2024. It just can't be.

And yet it is.

It feels like I was just in my mid- to late 40s, but my birth certificate confirms I've crossed the line into my mid-50s.

My parents are gone and so is one of my siblings. Others I've known and loved have also passed on. Life is so different from what it used to be, if only because the cast of characters around me has turned over so much.

Then there's this little bit of additional weirdity: While the year 2000 feels like a long time ago, 1980 doesn't at all. Twenty years ago seems like a lifetime, but 40 years ago has a "just yesterday" quality to it.

How? Why? What is it about our memories and our sense of time that starts to turn upside down the older we get?

I can't explain any of it. The only thing I can do, I figure, is to live as much in the here and now as possible and let the chips fall where they may.

I may not live to 102, but if I can shift my mindset to be more present-focused, I can make the most of whatever time I do have.

And maybe feel a little more stable when it comes to passing years and the memory of what once was.

Seriously, though, Reagan is still president, right?

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