I don’t know when it happened, but I have lost all sense of time.
Minutes feel like hours, weeks feel like months. Months feel like days. A year passes in an instant. Sometimes it seems as though I’ve blown through half a lifetime in a decade.
Take work. Did I email that colleague a week ago? Nope, it was day before yesterday. The meeting was Tuesday, right? Uh, no, it was last month. I give silent thanks for undeleted emails and calendars that let me retrace my steps as I try to get my bearings.
My days either drag (workdays, for example, unless I’m so busy I don’t even have time to take a break) or fly (mostly weekends, which come and go as though they never happened). What do you mean, two years have gone by since I bought my house/started my job/washed my windows/saw my friend?
There have been periods in my recent life – if three years ago was recent – that I chronicled in excruciating detail so that I wouldn’t forget how and when A, B and C came to pass. Now, far into the future, I look back and am comforted that I can pull out a moment and set it gently into its proper place in the timeline of my life.
How do you hold on to time? It’s so easy when you’re young – everything seems to take forever: the time between now and Christmas, turning 16 so you can drive, turning 21 so you can have a beer and be an adult. When you get near the other end of life, you wish that you hadn’t wished so hard when you were young that time would hurry itself along. I look at my father and wonder how, when you’re 85, you imagine the future.
Mindfulness, some say, is the key – living not in the past or in the future, but in the present moment, right where you are. It’s a difficult concept, a more difficult exercise. I haven’t mastered it, but then, I haven’t worked at it very hard.
It takes practice, and really, who has the time?