There is a strange paradox in life that seems to effect everyone. I have begun to notice it a few years ago, but this year it has really made itself apparent to me. Here is the paradox. As we grow older and age, we slow down. Our thinking slows down, our walking slows down, forget about running at all, our speech slows down, it seems that everything about us slows to a crawl. Time, however, speeds up and we find ourselves not being able to keep up with things around us from day to day. There comes a point where one day is faster than the day before and the next day will be faster yet. Time starts to race forward and our slow minds and bodies are left behind leaving us pretty much out of the loop of keeping up with those younger than us leaving us feeling like we are stuck in a mud bog.
That is where I think I find myself at this point in my life. Stuck in a mud bog. It wasn't always this way. There was a time when nothing could slow me down. Every day it would seem like I would learn something new. Just observing life around me brought many lessons that I would use up to and including today. All my heroes use to be older than me. There wasn't a baseball player on the field that was younger and now even the managers are getting to the point of being about the same age that I am.
I could rode a bike a few times for over 120 miles when I was not quite of age to vote. I remember taking my driver's test and failing the first time because I ran a stop sign. It would be two weeks before I could take the test again. TWO WEEKS!! It was the longest two weeks in my life at the time. Now the expiration date on my license seems to come up faster than those two weeks went by waiting to get my first one.
When I was really little, Christmas would come once a year and it was a long year. When the J.C. Penney Wishbook arrived in the mail, it seemed like we had forever to browse through it everyday making our wishes for when Christmas finally did arrive. Turns out that when the Wishbook arrives at my house these days, it feels like about a week or so passes before I throw it into the recycle bin. (yes, it come as a surprise to some of you who know me but I DO recycle).
Summers use to be long, seemingly lasting forever with those warm humid Missouri days just lazily passing by. A weekend with my grandparents would be far from lazy days but still pretty easy going, and waiting for grandma to finish fixing supper seemed like it took all day.
Even as I grew into my adult years things seemed to pass at a pretty comfortable pace. I could work all day then go play a few hours of basketball or run up to the ball fields and watch the kids play baseball for a few hours. Songs that I remember hearing for the first time are now forty or fifty years old. This week marks the 40th anniversary of the release of The Allman Brothers "Brothers and Sisters" album that brought us Jessica and Ramblin Man. I remember hearing the first sounds off that album for the first time. I remember going to see them on the tour that promoted that album. Now it is forty years old. Never tire of listening to it, but the thought that it has been forty years since I bought that album is almost inconceivable.
As I entered into the age of computers and the new technology, I found I had plenty of time to keep up on all the new things that were coming out. I could run a computer like an expert and if something went wrong I could always fix the computer with my brain and the time I seemed to have plenty of. One of my motto's was "you can't break a computer, it can always be fixed." I remember telling my older sister those words several dozen times. Now she is the one telling me that computers can't be broke. Somehow she has managed to stay on top of the tide of technology while I have begun to drown in it.
Times have changed as I have grown older. I find that all those times my grandfather sat in his chair with his pipe between his teeth looking off into space was thinking time so that he would come up with just the right words he wanted to say. I have also found out that the time when he was thinking, he was trying to slow time down to give him more time to think. I know this to be true because that is what I do. I just want time to stop it's constant ticking.
This year has gone by especially fast. There are many reasons for it I suppose. Easter came extremely early in the year which made the year start off fast. But it wasn't just Easter. I have begun observing again and time does not stop no matter how much you want it to. Over the last year I have noticed my parents aging quickly and I look back and it seems like just a year or so ago when my grandparents died when in reality it has been close to two decades since I felt that pain. I guess the pain of losing them has stayed with me making it always seem like they were just here. A friend of Mine and Barb's is extremely sick and time seems to be going by so fast as she battles her disease. I want to stop time for her. I want it to stop for the long term.
I am old. I think back to my grade school years when my third grade teacher had us figure out how old we would be in the year 2000. I calculated that I would be forty four when we switched centuries. Forty four. It seemed so very far off. Now it is thirteen years past that magical date and I am fifty six. Old.
I have seen life come and go to a lot of my family members that I once thought would be around forever. There was a time when I could not imagine any of them not being here, but now they are gone. I watched one of my best friends lose his daughter to a heart condition when she was only fourteen.
Fourteen was "old" for Alesia. Old is different for everybody. The thing is that the closer you get to leaving this life, the older you get, no matter what your age is now. The older we get, the slower we get, the more we want time to slow down. We want more time. There is never enough time and we want more. It doesn't work that way though. Time moving faster is but an illusion. Time is a constant, but life is not. The things that we experience in life are not constants. Everything is constantly changing and when things change, it is a marker that time is going by us, and it does.
Time doesn't stop. Time doesn't slow down. Time keeps marching on around us. The best we can do is to try to keep up.