Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Time is an elusive subject.

What is time? It's the way we measure how long we take to complete a task. We all know (more or less) what time represents and acknowledge that we can feel it's presence. But I think I would be hard pressed to describe it to a visitor from outer space.

"Can you see it?" the visitor might well ask.

"Not exactly," I would reply. "But you can see the effects of time. Paint fades and peels. People change and get older. Seasons come and go."

"Then you can see it."

"Not exactly."

Our daily conversations include frequent references to time. "Is the train on time?" "I don't have time." "What time is it?" "What time do we eat?" "Time for bed."

From childhood, we all are aware of time. Remember how long it took for Christmas to appear each year? We were certain that our birthdays would never arrive. Beginning a new 9-month school year seemed like a lifetime commitment. How would we ever survive until the end of school? Later, some of life's big events -- college graduation and weddings, for instance -- seemed to take forever to arrive. Our anticipation and planning only made the event more eventful.

Even by a kid's standards, some periods of time flew by. Family trips and summer vacations evaporated. Weekends? Those two days were just a blur on the way to Monday mornings. It was time to have fun and we didn't mind just "goofing off." We enjoyed being kids.

At what point in life did the time machine kick into high gear? About the age of 40? Earlier than that? No doubt that point of ramping up varies from person to person. It does seem that time now flies by. Seasons morph from one to the next sometimes with little fanfare.

I don't feel old until I hear some news story about an event that I recall clearly, then hear how many years ago that was. For instance, in November of this year, it will be 50 years since President Kennedy was assassinated. Fifty years! I was in high school but I recall the details of that day clearly. That's a half century!

It's observances such as this that send shock waves through those of us over 50. Where did those intervening years go? Concern about the fleeting passage of time is not confined to Baby Boomers. Wise folks have long been concerned with time and its impact on our lives. I discovered the following comments about time and thought they were worth revisiting.

The years teach much the days never know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Marthe Troly-Curtin

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
Mother Teresa

Time is what we want most but what we use worst.
William Penn

Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time' is like saying, 'I don't want to.'
Lao Tzu

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.
Mahatma Gandhi

Never waste a minute thinking about people you don't like.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Lost time is never found again.
Benjamin Franklin

And my favorite:

How did it get so late so soon?
Dr. Seuss

Keeping in mind what these folks chose to share might help us recognize the importance of every day. 








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