2017 and it’s the start of a new year. As I was out walking yesterday, I thought about time. It is one constant that is cold and unfeeling. It marches on a steady trek. It is a bitch and a bastard at times with no regard to our desires, our dreams. It can be a friend or a hated enemy.
From an early age, we learned the fickleness of time. It could go fast … it could go slow. Remember how we just couldn’t wait for Christmas morning? The month of December dragged like it had three times the number of days. Growing up, we had so many events to look forward to like birthdays, the last day of school, and summer vacation. Once we hit high school, we so looked forward to turning 16 to get that driver’s license, and it seemed like we couldn’t wait until the next milestone like the drinking age. After the big 21, birthdays were still celebrated, but the importance dwindled. Of course, the beginning of a new decade still became a landmark. After about 50, birthdays became more dreaded and wished to be ignored. Then, there was a long stretch until the next big milestones … retirement, Social Security and Medicare. After that, one realizes the only thing left was waiting for time to stop … permanently.
Even though time is rock steady without fluctuations, there are times when it gives the impression of going faster. Anytime one is engaged in a fun activity or on the return leg of a relaxing vacation, time sprints like gold medalist Usain Bolt. We exclaim, “Where did the time go?” One minute you’re shooting the rapids in the mountains, having the time of your life, then you blink and you’re back at work. And the opposite of time flying is true as well. This dark side of time, we despise. It is when time appears to drag on and barely move. We stare at the clock and the hands seem coated in sludge. We all have examples of that i.e. sitting in front of your boss for your yearly review, waiting in the dentist’s office, doing one’s taxes and so forth. Basically, things we just hate doing.
Another facet about time that is cruel and heartless concerns our body. A crisp twenty something with tight skin and silky locks doesn’t think too much of that one gray hair or a sore muscle. Later on as the years pass, time does a number on us. We look at a picture of our self forty years in the past and gasp, “My hair was so much darker.” It’s always the hair that we comment on first! Then we look closer at the picture, “Wow, no wrinkles.” In retirement, we hear the expression – the golden years. That is so not true. There is nothing golden about those years. They are more like rust.
So, as we begin to unroll a new year, time pushes forward as we produce more gray hairs (if we still have hair), cultivate a new crop of wrinkles, and find new aching muscles. Oh sure, there’s always the new anti-aging cream to try, but that’s just temporary. At best it’s making us feel good inside. The wrinkles will still prevail.
Not much we can do about time and it’s relentless progression. We just have to go with the flow and take the journey. That reminds me, I need to get more liniment.