On Time.

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Do you ever try to think about a concept that seems fairly simple and straight-forward, only to realize that once you start thinking about it, it’s actually incredibly complex and perhaps even impossible to fully fathom? That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about time lately.

I know that 60 seconds make up a minute. And 60 minutes make up an hour. And 24 hours make up a day. And 365 days make up a year. That’s basic math. But if you keep going on like that, the units of measurement get bigger and bigger until you’re contemplating infinity. Because that’s what time really is, isn’t it? It never stops, and even the numbers we use to try to comprehend it are like trying to reign in something wild, something that we foolishly think we can, and should, have mastery over. No matter how much we try to dominate and control time, it will always slip through our fingers like the sly little devil it is.

One of my co-workers had a birthday the other day, and we were talking about how we never feel older on our birthdays. Even though a year has passed since the last birthday, and our bodies have physically aged a year, we feel the same, like we’ve plateaued. I think perhaps what makes me feel that way is the expectation from other people that there will be some kind of change in me that is evident, if not to them then at least to me. And maybe that expectation perplexes me because time can go so slow that, on a day-by-day level, any change feels like its occurring at a glacial pace, if at all; but at the same time, looking back, a year can pass so quickly that I’m left dumbfounded at the quantity of minutes, hours, days that have passed in what seems like mere moments.

Isn’t it mind-blowing not only that time never stops, but that whether or not it’s passing rapidly or slowly is so dependent on context? Time seemed to move much slower when I was younger. Ever since I’ve been in college, time keeps passing more and more quickly each year: my freshman year went by normally, my sophomore year more quickly, my junior year zipped by, and I blinked my final year away. I always thought that time just moved more quickly when you were enjoying yourself, but this past year, nightmarish as it’s been, has even come and gone so swiftly, like the undulation of wave; time is truly one of the few things that can feel so long and so short simultaneously. I just wonder what it will be like when I’m finally happy with my job and my dwelling and my position in the universe: will time go even faster then?

A year, in the context of lifetime, is incredibly short. Like a drop in a bucket. But, a year is 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, 31536000 seconds. Those numbers seem so big and ominous and daunting! Yes, a year is not so long, but any amount of time can produce change, both great and small. It goes without saying that more time probably correlates to more change, all of which is to say, maybe it’s not time that concerns me the most, but change.

This all probably sounds vague and crazy-lady-esque, but it will make sense to you soon. Just give it time.


3 responses to “On Time.

  1. I think what you’re talking about is ‘Empty Time’ and ‘Significant Time’. The former refers to life in general, when everything happens as usual and we live through it but shall not necessarily be able to remember it later on. The latter refers to those moments in life that standout, that were special for some reason and that we lived through specially, we remember them most vividly when we reminiscence.

    When it feels as if no time has passed at all, or conversely, when if feels as if time has passed by all too soon, it’s primarily these two concepts playing their tricks. We remember every vivid detail of the ‘Significant Time’ thereby prolonging it in hindsight, even if it were just a moment in itself. And we remember nothing, or have some sort of blanket memory for ‘Empty Time’ which makes it seem to have passed very soon in hindsight.

  2. Pingback: Distance and Time. |

  3. Pingback: Distance and Time | chuckbonesdaisies

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