The Passage of Time

My day-to-day life, in general, goes quickly these days. Although certain hours, days, or even weeks where I’m sick or in unusually-elevated pain drag on so slowly that I feel like I’m treading water against the current and possibly even moving backward in time, the trend in recent years is that time moves faster and faster. As a child, I remember hearing adults lament to one another about how “time flies” and “they (the kids) grow up too fast,” but I had yet to experience that. Even in my adult life, it wasn’t until around the time I turned 30 that I felt the sands of the hourglass of time slipping through my parted fingers. As much as I try to shore up the gaps between fingers to contain the grains, the sand finds its way to spill over and out from the cupped hands I want it contained within.

I don’t want time to pass as quickly as it does; in fact, even when I was young, save for waiting for certain vacations, holidays, or special occasions, I also wanted time to slow down. Whereas this is a commonly shared feeling in adults, it seems less typical in children, who often long to be “grown-ups” who have the latitude to make their own choices and for whom “waiting” for anything never feels quite so endless. I have distinct memories of certain birthdays (such as turning 7, 9, etc.) where I looked into the flickering candles on my softening ice cream cake, thinking of my birthday wish, stressed by the eyes of my friends and family upon me, and all I could conjure up in my mind is, “I don’t want to be seven; I liked being six!” Considering the population and probability alone, I’m sure there are plenty of kids turning seven who see sadness sunk into their cake with the added candle for their new age and can’t think of any birthday wish above the incessant mental chatter of feeling loss over leaving age six—an age you were perfectly happy with—yet I imagine it’s also a little premature to be wanting to slow time, less things change too quickly. Still, given my innate perceived need for routine, and related resistance to change, it’s plausible that I was already aware, though not fully, of my desire to stay with what I already knew and liked. In hindsight, there aren’t monumental changes inherent in turning seven, but to kid-Amber, that unknown was scary and I had no experience with the navigating the difference; to me, I believed it would come with more than a label change.

Nowadays, the daily routine of work and home life is monotonous from a gross perspective, but my job is so varied and I never know what the status of my body or mind will be, so the actual zoomed in view of any given weekday reveals its rather unique attributes. The days where I slept horribly, have terrible body pains, keep getting slammed with PTSD, have stressful or annoying medical or therapy appointments, or otherwise feel trapped inside because of physical ailments or unworkable meteorological conditions, I feel the stagnation of time, and the desire for it to be a new day. However, even on most of those days, when I’m working on my three-item-minimum daily gratitude list, I intentionally try to note that while I wish I felt better (or the day was easier for one reason or another), I’m glad that I am here in the present, and I try to note something specific about that to be thankful for. If it’s any season other than winter, for example, I’ll often comment on the gifts of the season. Or, I might comment on aspects of my youthful body or mind that have yet to deteriorate. These types of notes keep me living in the moment and not wishing away precious time despite feeling majorly troubled or ill. On days where my body and mind are at their status quo, or a workable level wherein the problematic nature of them stays mostly below the threshold of disruptive status, time moves along at a moderate clip, even when I’m working all day and home alone. I fall easily into the rhythm of my schedule, and drawn intensely into the nature of my work. Weekends, of course, almost always go by too quickly, as even though I’m work both of those days as well, I get to see my husband.

As tough as things are most days for me—between psychological issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, my myriad of health issues, and stressors and hardships in our life like financial strain, loneliness, and loss—I still recognize and honor the blessings of the here and now of my current life. I try not to wish away the time; instead, I acknowledge the fact that this moment in my life—even when it feels impossibly difficult—is actually way better than it could be, and much better than it’ll likely be in days to come. I guess that’s a pessimistic attitude in many ways, but it also has its merits because it helps me be grateful for what I have and how my life is now, it anchors me to appreciate the present.

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