The Irreversible Reality of Time

Since when did time start speeding up?

For years the years seem to have been passing by more rapidly than the last.  As a child, I remember adults commenting on how quickly I had grown, and how time was flying, but never really got it.

Finley time

As children, time is such a fascinating and sometimes frustrating concept.  As children, we’d clock-watch all day at school, waiting for the bell at the end of the day – the days seemed to drag.  In the run-up to our birthdays, we’d count the weeks and days, hurrying them along so that we’d get to that magical day that was our very own special day.  Our birthdays couldn’t come around quickly enough, and it seemed like an absolute eternity until the next one.

But now.  Now, the hours merge into days which merge into weeks and months and so on.  Work days are never long enough to get everything done.  Some of us curse our birthdays; a sign that we’re getting older, that we’re one step nearer being a perceived less of a person than we currently are.  Time is running out.  If I stop to think about it for too long, it saddens me greatly.

Time is totally out of our control.  We can’t slow it down, we can’t stop it and we certainly can’t turn it back.  We get once chance at this, one chance to make our mark, to achieve, to create our life… to live.

It was just last night that I was staring at my huge year planner on the wall in front of me, as I sat in bed ready for sleep.  It felt like that planner was taunting me, laughing at me and daring me to close my eyes, for in a few hours, yet another day on that planner would be no longer.  The 24th June 2015 was almost gone – for good.  June.  It didn’t feel that long ago that we had begun to get used to writing ‘2015’ instead of ‘2014’, and yet we’re at the end of June, halfway through this year.  Halfway through another year.

Pausing to consider ‘time’ makes me particularly sad when I think about my parents.  Statistically, I’m likely to lose my parents before I lose anyone else I love.  As these days, weeks, months and years fly by, it is less time I have left to soak up the joyous, irreplaceable company of my parents.  This fact leaves me feeling irrevocably lost.  Yet, it does have a positive effect in that it motivates me to cherish my time spent with them, and indeed to spend as much time as I can with them (the feeling may not be mutual on their part!).

I hope that my kids grow to cherish my husband and I as much as I cherish my parents.  This is not for selfish reasons – not for accolades.  No, the reason I cherish my parents so is a true testament to how they excelled as parents.  They weren’t perfect – nobody is – but they weren’t far off.

They worked hard throughout their working lives, yet always seemed to have time for me.  To be honest, I don’t even know what that means – I couldn’t honestly tell you if my parents sat down with me for hours on end playing games and entertaining me.  I suspect they didn’t.  But I never felt side-lined by anything, or that they weren’t there for me when I needed them.  They had time.

And time is something I feel that we as a society have less and less of.  This is why I worry that my children won’t necessarily have the same feeling of us being there for them as I did of my parents.  Ironically, I gave up my career to give my kids my time.  For the most part, I believe I’m achieving this.  I care for them all day, each day.  But like everyone, I have work to do – housework, shopping, chores, working from home writing.  My kids pull on my heart strings big time – making requests that I ‘come back’ if I leave the room to load the dishwasher, or making requests that I ‘come in the living room’ to draw a volcano.

Perhaps these little interactions are forgotten over the years, as I don’t recall my parents telling me about the time I begged them to come and sit with me while I built a tower.  But these interactions happen to me now, every single day, and are a constant reminder that I have no control over time.  That I cannot pause the time so that I can have unadulterated play with my kids and not worry about responding to an email or that the washing is going mouldy in the washing machine.

I guess there is nothing I can do to change this, except try and work smarter – make every hour count.  Don’t waste my time on things that aren’t important.  Organise myself better.  Get up earlier, go to bed later.  Cook fish fingers more often.  Purchase a DeLorean.

Do you feel as though time is passing by faster as you get older?

This post is also featured in the Huffington Post UK.

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17 thoughts on “The Irreversible Reality of Time

  1. I can really relate to this post. In fact it brought a year to my eye. I also feel that time is this big force that I cannot contain – rushing away from me. They threatens my precious moments with my son & with my mother (my dad died a few years ago at the untimely age of 59)

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    1. Thanks so much for your touching comment. I often sit and consider the unstoppable force that is time, and if I stop for too long, it really does floor me. It does threaten the precious moments with our loved-ones and slips through our fingers no matter how tightly we place them together.

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. An untimely age indeed… xx

      Thank you so much for stopping by to leave your thoughtful comment. Really appreciated x

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  2. The speed at which time now passes is as frightening as it is astonishing, isn’t it? More important now than ever to – in the words of one of my all-time favourite films – ‘carpe diem’, seize the day. We won’t be around forever. So start today what you could put off until tomorrow (a bad habit of mine). Don’t live a life where your regrets are about the things you haven’t done. Tick that one big thing off your bucket list. I’ve picked mine, as you know: writing a book. Now what’s yours, eh?

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    1. Tim, you’re right – the passing time is most definitely astonishingly frightening. Seizing the day is a brilliant way to live life by. As my mum used to always remind me, ‘procrastination is the thief of time’, and I couldn’t agree more.

      You are certainly making steps towards ticking that huge goal off your bucket list – which is just brilliant for you – I’m really rooting for you. I have loads and I am absolutely chipping away at them all simultaneously. It feels bloody good! x

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  3. A really thought provoking post, Fiona. I think that perception of time is one of the biggest differences between children and adults…Children afford themselves the time to enjoy life. I remember doing exams as a teenager and suddenly feeling that I wanted to stop the world and get off like it was a roundabout out of control – I don’t think its stopped since!

    I know for a fact that you are doing a good job of spending quality time bringing up your boys so they benefit from all your parenting input. And I totally agree that we should be mindful of how we spend our time and not waste any precious moments, I am guilty of not always doing this, so thanks for the reminder to strive for that more.

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    1. Alice, you’re right. The perception of time of children compared to adults is so vastly different. That’s so interesting that you can recall the moment that you may have transitioned from child-time to adult-time.

      Thank you so much for the parenting reassurance. Honestly, I hold onto each and every complimentary word you say when you see the boys.

      Thanks so much for taking the trouble to write such a kind and thoughtful comment, Alice xxx

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  4. For some reason, your post is making me well up. Your parents must feel so proud reading this beautiful post, hunny. Time does fly. My baby, who was so tiny and fragile just a few blinks ago is 1 already. My first baby is nearly 7 and yet it feels like yesterday I held him for the first time. xxx

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    1. I had absolutely no intention of making anyone cry, but you’re the third person who has after reading this post. Mum and dad were pretty moved after reading this (again, I had no idea or intention).

      How does it all fly by so fast? It seems like each day they are doing something new and amazing that they couldn’t do the day before, and it really does magnify just how quickly time is passing and how their rapid changes are so pronounced. Thanks for your sweet comment, hon. I remember when you were pregnant with your littlest, and I can’t believe it is just over a year now! xxx

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  5. Wow I don’t want to think what life would be like without my parents but I know I’ll have to face it eventually. I feel the same about my upbringing though – my sister and I had a lovely childhood. I’m going to try and be less of a procrastinator too – Tim’s decision to start writing that book is very inspirational! Great, thought provoking post xx

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    1. Aw, thanks so much, Sam. Yes, when I think of time I often think of my parents. It is so difficult to think about not sharing the planet with them any longer, so much so that I don’t pause too long on that thought.

      Tim’s decision is super inspirational. I’m thrilled for him, and it is a truly excellent use of his time! xx

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  6. I feel the same, I’ve welled up here, this is so touching and you’ve nailed it, that all we really want is to make time count with our kids and it really does go so fast (not those times when they won’t sleep of course) but the years, they fly by and well now, I’m broody! Your parents did an incredible job, just look at you! I think we are all just trying our best aren’t we and it’s the quality time that counts. Loved this, love you x

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    1. Oh Vicki, I didn’t mean to get people all emotional with this one. This plays on my mind all the time. I never feel like there’s enough and am constantly feeling like I’m not giving the kids enough. I hopefully, probably am – but we can never view ourselves as good enough for our kids, can we? Fraser is walking around me in my own shoes (literally) as I type this, and I can still almost smell the scent of his newborn head – two entire years ago. So many daily changes just compound the rapidity of time. *wipes a tear away*

      Right, we should go to the playground!! Thanks for such a touching comment, Vicki – love you too x

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  7. Oh yes I get this. If anything, I feel it now more than ever. Time is racing by and my kids are growing up at a remoresless rate. Housework gets done but it’s swan-like. The kids are well presented, my wife’s work clothes are ironed and the fridge well stocked but walk into our garage and you’re walking into a hideous mess that desperately needs re-organising and has done for at ealst two years. Why? Because I never have time to do it. I’m either looking after the kids, doing housework or dodging housework so I can do some freelance work.

    I need that Delorean.

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  8. I feel exactly like this! It worries me that I am just getting through each day rather than making the most of it as soon the boys will be grown up and not wanting me around. I get upset that i don’t get to see my parents often as they live so far away and that each time I do they are getting visibly older. I also hate that my husband has to work so much and doesn’t get to see the boys as much. I guess it is just the way things are x

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  9. The perception of time changes according to the age of an individual. For children it never seem to pass because they are impatient. Also because they always want to play and have fun and as a rule joyful time passes much more quickly than boring time, For adults of working age it seems to run faster because they are continuously pressed by work, worries, meeting deadlines and responsibilities. For people over sixty five or pension age it seems to run quickly because in their subconscious they feel that they have not much time left. To me time seems to have stopped or hardly exist. So much so that a couple of times I went out from my house thinking that it was a normal working day only to realize that it was Christmas.

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