In my life, the concept of time has always been a double-edged sword. I either feel like it’s fleeting by or want it to pass quickly.
I’m equal parts the wistful nostalgic and hopeful prophet. Slamming the brakes or pressing the accelerator. I don’t do idle well. Being present eludes me.
At work some days, the minutes crawl past. A slow torture of sorts. I look at the clock, thinking an hour has passed. But it’s only been twenty-six minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. But when at work, I feel like a restless racehorse waiting for the gate to open. Or a tiger pacing my enclosure waiting for someone to throw me scraps of meat. Waiting, urging time to pass.
It’s the opposite when I get home. The evening hours are a blur as I try to soak up time with my family. Dinnertime. Homework. Bath time. Story time. Pack lunches and select outfits for the following day. Bedtime. The seven-ish hours of shuteye feels like twenty-six minutes.
My alarm goes off at 3AM. Every. Single. Day. I get up, start the coffee, and power up my laptop. I look forward to this peaceful twilight before sunrise. Because it’s MY time. Time spent writing is when I feel most alive. Creative juices flowing, my fingers fly over the keys. But it never lasts. Suddenly, I look at the little clock on the corner of my screen and it’s 6:15. How is that even possible? I just sat down. Why does my life fast-forward through the parts I wish I could put in slow motion?
I’d love more money. But my need for time outweighs it. There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I feel like I “need” to accomplish.
I like to think of time as a currency. Except, you spend time, but you can’t buy it. You waste time, but you can’t slow it down. You can save time, but you can’t bank it. Nor can you return or exchange what has passed. It’s dynamic, evolving with the ebb and flow of life.
Same goes for my perspective on age. I remember being a high school freshman and thinking that 25 seemed so old. A quarter century is a long time. Suddenly, I’m 35. I don’t feel as old as the image conjured by my freshman self. But here I am. A quarter century plus a decade. Where did the years go? How is my daughter already 6? And my son—the child I just gave birth to—is 4 & ½. How is that possible? What happened to their chubby baby fingers?
As first smiles become the first teeth lost, it amazes me how fast it happened. The tooth fairy and the adorable gap where my daughter’s two front teeth once were, remind me of when I was her age. I remember feeling the little ridges of my newly erupted adult teeth with the tip of my tongue. Little jagged edges that, over time, have become smooth. As I type, I run my tongue over my teeth to check. Smooth teeth. Decades passed. And I ask myself, where did the time go?
For me, time is a currency more precious than the dollar.