You always hear a lot of talk from the elders about fast how time passes – how days, weeks, years go by faster as you age. And the older you get, the more we talk about it because it appears to be so true.
Our intelligence tells us that a year is 365 days and each day is 24 hours and every hour is 60 minutes and none of those constants ever change. (This despite Einstein’s analogy of the relativity of time that a minute with your hand on a hot stove seems like an eternity and an hour in the company of a beautiful woman passes in the blink of an eye.) Perspective aside, an hour is an hour, always.
Yet at my age you blink your eyes and a year has raced by. My oldest grandson is 8….seems like yesterday he was born. So why? And after much thought and conversations with lots and lots of people, it was explained to me best by the father of a friend: when you are 6, you’ve been alive for only 6 years – 2,190 days. That’s your whole universe of existence and experience. One year to a 6 year old is 16.6% – literally almost a fifth of your life.
But at 60 – one year is not even 2% of your existence and experience. It is 21,900 days.
And that got me thinking.
So I created this as a visual reminder of why time seems so fleeting with age.
It occurs to me that our strength and hope comes to us in life one little victory at a time and our despair and fatigue of spirit come to us in life one little loss at a time.
Unfortunately our ultimate outcome is of aging and deterioration; our resolve may grow stronger, but as our bodies and our faculties diminish with age, victories naturally give way to losses and our spirits follow suit. Aging is more than growing old, it is a reconciliation with the inevitability of failure and loss. We deny, we try harder, but ultimately we begin to accept and resign to it while strength and hope fade away.
The reality of my problem suddenly occurred to me this morning – and it is simply that I am not self-aware. I always knew I was a bit obtuse, which struck me odd in that I am neither unintelligent or unobservant. But all along it was that I just not self-aware.