“Everything depends on knowing how much, she said, and Good is knowing when to stop.” These lines from Tony Morrison’s Beloved remind me of another favorite wisdom: “You can do most anything you want, but not everything.” These words apply to time as well as treasure, especially as we get older.
Some people say that time seems to go faster as we age. Scientists tell us that it does not; however, this perception of time is likely to be related to how long we have lived. For example, on your 5th birthday, a year is 20% of your life; at age 50, it is only 2%! Nevertheless, as we get older our understanding of time as limited begins to affect how we look at it.
As age helps us to understand time, we may see it less in terms of clocks and calendars and more in terms of a measurement of change. We see changes very clearly in the growth of our grandchildren, our gardens, and now the option of wearing our phones on our wrists. Unable or unwilling to keep up with all the changes, we begin to understand that time is also a construct we can make personal.
The time comes when we can wake up in the morning and decide how we will spend this next day of our lives. We can sit at a bedside with a friend or loved one for however long. We can read far into the night without glancing at the clock and knowing the alarm will come all too soon in the morning. We can “waste” our time on just being without feeling we have to be productive in some measurable way.
As our “hurry sickness” at last begins to leave us, we can enter a new season of timing. Now become sweeter, if we stop and let it.
This is the second in a series on Aging.