It seems that in January of this year Khronos the god of time said, “Hey, Teever, what the hell is that?” Humor being my default position, I turned my head while thinking of the wonderful SNL “What The Hell Is That” skit. Instead of thinking of comedy, I should have resisted the urge to fall for the oldest trick in the book, because when I turned my head back around it was late December 2015. Where did the time go? Tempus fugit on wings getting mightier by the moment.
It used to take forever for my birthday to come around. Forget about Christmas, when I was a kid it was little more than a weak hope, it took forever to arrive. Summer vacation was a little more reliable and felt a little more achievable – just a little more. But as I have grown older, the things that I waited for pass by at supersonic speeds barely giving me a glance.
I have a theory of why this is. I have run the theory by my family and friends here, so why not bore a larger audience? Time is relative. Not in the Einsteinian since, but in a proportional sense. This is where I lose most people who at this juncture in my theory begin to gesticulate wildly in random directions saying, “Hey, Teever, what the hell is that?” And you know where I end up – talking to myself. But if you have been willing to read this far, perhaps you will walk with me a little further.
My theory is best illustrated as follows:
1. When you are born and first see the light of day (or the glaring maternity ward lights through clenched eyelids with your grandfather in the corner praying the rosary as much for a healthy grandchild as to be spared the exact details of natural childbirth – inside joke, consult my family for explanation), even a second is incredibly long because in the next second you are twice as old as you were. Think of it, at one second old, a year is 35 ½ million times longer than your young life.
2. When you are one-year-old, face buried in birthday cake while your parents click away with their cameras or phones assured by your determined motions you are still breathing, you and a year are on equal footing.
3. Down the road at ten, a year is no longer as daunting as it once was. A year is only one tenth of your life and getting relatively smaller all the time.
4. I am now 53, and a year is less than 2% of my life. The years fly leaving me to feel as if I am wearing roller blades on a treadmill foolishly and helplessly watching the world turn beneath my wheels.
It is not a difficult theory, nor is it earth shattering (even if I give it a name like “The Asymptotic Behavior of Time Relative to Life”). It is really just me trying to rationalize why it is increasingly difficult to accomplish anything in a hectic life.
However, thinking of time in this way has shown me that we are part of a miraculous and chaotic dance. The young at the Arthur Murray stage following foot prints on the floor, with each successive generation getting a step closer to mastering the Tango. So as the clock ticks down the seconds to the next in a ceaseless procession of new years, enjoy the dance, and make your resolution one to teach those learning by looking at their feet, and for you to learn from their attention to details you may have missed. Part of leaving the world a better place, is passing it on to good and prepared hands. Happy New Year, and if you could just look over there. Over your right shoulder…no there…what the hell is that?