That’s the thing about time. One minute you’re trying to figure out what to do about college and the next minute they’re holding your retirement party. What happened to all those years in between?
It seems like only yesterday – well, actually it was almost 50 years ago, but who’s counting – when my friends and I graduated from good old Troy High School. Finally! I can’t tell you how many times I looked at that clock during math class wondering how time managed to defy the laws of nature during algebra. The … time … went … so … slowly.
Or the times my friends and I drove around Troy on a Saturday night complaining there was nothing to do. Or how it seemed like I spent half a lifetime in elementary school either on a school bus or waiting for one.
Then I woke up this morning and my children are grown up, I’m on Medicare and somehow a few of those years seem to have gotten away from me.
When I was growing up, I begged time to get a move on. Now I’m trying to get time to put on the brakes.
When you’re young, you figure you have lots of time to do all the things you want to do. In fact, there’s so much time you often don’t even bother trying to figure out just what it is you’d like to do. Then, surprise! You’re older and you think maybe you better start putting a list together.
I’m not a “bucket list” kind of guy, but I have learned to appreciate some things a little more in the past few years. If you’re a young person, you’re going to think most of these things are pretty simple or maybe even kind of stupid, but you might consider them, anyway. If you think about them now you might be ahead of the game:
• A cat on your lap. Purring. You might be too busy for the cat right now – just hope she’s not too busy for you later on when you need a friend. Actually, this is even more true when it comes to humans you know, except humans don’t do that satisfying purring thing.
• Mums. Any flowers in the fall, actually. It used to be August would go by and I’d be ready to mow everything under. But flowers in the fall are special – when you hit the autumn of your own life, you think about things like that.
• Old friends. New friends. Any kind of friends. Sometimes, even an enemy or two is all right. As you get older, you stop expecting so much out of other people. Yes, it’s true, we’ve pretty much messed up this planet in a big way, but life would be pretty boring without other people.
• Time with no people. Well, you don’t want to be around them all the time. A little bit of quiet – or maybe a lot of quiet – can be a good thing.
At the risk of getting all philosophical here, time is both an enemy and a friend. It tricks you and moves way too fast, then sneaks up and knocks you on the head when you don’t expect it. On the other hand, it provides us with a wealth of memories and hope that there is still another day coming.
I can’t help but think about my favorite quote about time, from J.R.R. Tolkien:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Or as Doctor Suess once said, “How did it get so late so soon?”
It seems like I just read that yesterday.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]