Time after time after time

Photo by Kenny Eliason

I was standing in front of my microwave, watching my cup going round and round and wishing it would take less time to heat my coffee.

As I stood there, I began to help the machine count the seconds down to zero when it dawned on me: I truly was watching my life ticking away one second at a time.

If I think of it, which I never do, each day, each hour and every minute, is busy counting away my existence one second at a time.

We humans are emotionally bound to time and we measure our lives by the passage of time. The most important consequence of this passage is that day by day, we age and eventually, we get old.

Time, in reality, is a human invention.

The universe does not care about time, it just goes on existing. On the other hand, we are obsessed with time.

There are hundreds of emotionally charged songs and poems written about time like, “Till the End of Time” or “Time After Time”.

Jim Croce wanted to put “Time in a Bottle”, while the Beatles sang to us about “Yesterday” and John Denver wrote a song called “Today” which alluded to “A Million Tomorrows.”

We do so much to time like “jumping” ahead one hour in the spring just so that we can jump back an hour in the fall. We make up “timetables” to organize our lives and make sure we get to appointments on time.

At the end of each year, we throw big parties to celebrate the start of a new one, but, our new year is not necessarily celebrated by each nation at the same time.

There are other cultures whose calendar differs from ours, for instance, Chinese and Iranian.

We have segregated various parts of our world into “time zones” so that we can determine what time it is in other parts of our world.

Just like the universe, the earth does not care about our allotted time zones, nor how we count days into weeks or months or years, it just goes about its business spinning around the sun as it has for millions of years.

We have clocks in our houses and watches on our wrists so that we can be punctual and always know what time it is, now of course, most people have cell phones to tell them the same thing.

We talk about ancient times, future times, and time immemorial. We give geological names to these passages in time to distinguish and separate one from the other, like the Cretaceous or Jurassic.
We study fossils to determine how much time has elapsed since a particular creature, human or animal, lived. We bore deeply into ice sheets or bogs to explore how various changes in time have affected our world.

For many years now, we have sent space capsules to various parts of our solar systems to explore how our neighbours evolved over time. We measure how much time it would take to travel to another solar system or the nearest start. These travels are computed in “Light Years” which concept completely baffles me. Putting humans into that equation makes us talk in terms of “Time Travel”, and that means we would have to be put into hibernation just to get there. Not the way I want to travel.

When I could travel, sea voyages were my favourite mode of transport.

Travelling east, we lose time just as we did when we came from Australia. We had to move our watches ahead 30 minutes each night to make sure we always had the right time.

Of course, when one travels west, the opposite is true and one gains time.

There are so many happy times that we love to count down to. This year, my youngest grand-nephew was married. The hectic weeks and days leading up to his wedding were some of the most intense and memorable times of his life, just as it is for every young couple planning a wedding.

Also this year, a new life is coming into my family’s orbit. Every mother and father-to-be marks the calendar and counts down the time until the day they can hold the new arrival in their arms.
Once the baby is born, a new timetable is put into motion. The first time the baby smiles; the first time she walks; her first word; her first day at kindergarten; marking the door frame as she grows. Starting a photo album to record the changes from infancy to childhood, to becoming a teenager and eventually an adult.

For me, the time has moved at a different rate depending on my age. In school, the days seemed to drag until the weekend and even longer until the end of term when holidays could begin. Then as I grew older somewhere between my twenties and forties, time began to move faster.

During these times, I had to make definite plans for my future and set financial goals as I looked towards my eventual retirement.

I remember coming to Calgary in 1972 and having to fill out an application form at work and put down the year I was to retire; 2005. That seemed an eternity away at that time, now it is more than twenty years in my past.

These days I feel as if I am on a treadmill that keeps moving faster and faster. Soon it will move so quickly that I will not be able to keep up.
That will be okay too.

By then I will be tired and it will be time to step off and move on. Where to, you ask?

I won’t know until I get there but whatever lies ahead: time will tell.