Why does time seem to speed up as you get older?
Granted, people my age are on the back nine of life, but why does your lifetime seem to mirror what happens when you get a full tank of gas? Anyone who drives knows that after filling up your tank, it seems to take a long time to get to the half-way mark. But once you pass that half-way point, boy, it’s all downhill from there.
Is that how life works too? How many times have you looked at the calendar and said, “Its June already?” Weren’t we just worrying about snow in February? How did I miss the spring again? I think I still have my winter coat in the closet.
But can 1990 be almost 30 years ago? You know the old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun,” but have we had that much fun?
My wife and I were in our child rearing years during the 1990s, so every day we woke up with our hair on fire, trying to balance work and everyday life while raising two boys. There were baseball games and school concerts, family birthdays and vacations. After our second child was born in 1992, I don’t think I looked at a calendar again until New Year’s Eve of the Millennium.
As we moved into the 2000s, things started to speed up for me. I remember clear as day when the new Mets stadium, Citi Field, began rising up behind the outfield of old, rickety, Shea Stadium. Every time I went to a game, we could see progress being made. Soon, the time would come for the stadium to be open and a new era of Mets baseball would begin. That was in 2009, almost 10 years ago. Does it seem like Shea Stadium has been gone that long?
Recently, we have been celebrating anniversaries that seem impossibly long. The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the movies Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate are all 50 years old. Star Wars, Annie Hall and Saturday Night Fever are 40 years old. Elvis Presley died 40 years ago. Johnny Carson has been gone from The Tonight Show for 25 years. South Park is 20 years old. And these are only the milestone anniversaries.
Is there any way to stop this runaway train called time? There are plenty of sayings we’ve heard over the years about time; “Time marches on;” “Like sand through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives;” or as Ed Norton once said, “Time and tide wait for no man.” But the one that sums it all up for me comes from author Alice Walker, who wrote the book The Color Purple: “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”
Our parents tried to warn us about how quickly time passes, but we were young adults with our whole lives in front of us. They told us how swiftly the kids would grow up and how we should enjoy every minute with them because before we know it, time will pass and they will be gone to begin their own lives. But we were too busy, things were happening so fast.
In “Beautiful Boy,” John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Suddenly, we are the parents who have grown children. We took care of them and guided them through life’s milestones. We took plenty of pictures to document their progress in life, but time is the one thing we can’t get back. Time is always moving forward and it doesn’t wait for us to catch up. If you’re not paying attention, you might just miss it.
I may have miscalculated how long ago 1990 was, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of that era. We lived it and got through it. Man, it went by in the blink of an eye.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” So let’s enjoy today, remember the past and look forward to the future.
After all, Dirty Dancing is turning 30 years old this year.