In these lazy, relaxing days of early retirement-dom I have become ever aware of the various faces of time. Wikipedia says this about time: “Time is the continuing sequence of events occurring in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future and a measure of the durations of those events, the intervals between them, and the rates of changes occurring in them.” It is those elements, past, present and future that have captured my attention lately – as recently as the middle of last night when I should have been sleeping.
The past – I am struck as I look back to recent days how slowly time, specifically the days, have passed. Each day I must name in my head the day of the week since there are not at present, many markers of daily activities. And each day I find it hard to believe it is only (as in today) Wednesday. The days pass in slow motion – a good kind of slow motion; days in which I do a number of things (if not as a friend has encouraged me, tending to projects around my home…).
The future on the other hand, is racing toward me at an incredible rate of speed. Can it really already be the middle of July? I have plans for much of what remains of this month – will I be able to do all the things I have been thinking about in August, the last month of summer? I have people to see and things to do – and while there seems to have been a lot of time to do things in past days, the future feels cramped, stymied by (perhaps imagined) boundaries of insufficiency.
And then there is the sweetness of the present, the time I might find myself at the laptop next to the window where I can look out on the garden, the bird feeder, all that IS the present. These were my “present” moments this morning (not the greatest clarity as the photos were shot through the window):
I suspect this is not the end of my musing on time. I think the trick is to focus on the present, the place in which we fiind ourselves, and to embrace – or change – it, as appropriate. If we do this it seems the past will be worth savoring, and we will find a way to release our concerns about the future (over which we have less control). I found this quote on time that I liked: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or ... too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it…”
― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button screenplay