The Speed of Time

Have you ever listened to a clock as the seconds tick by, one after another?

Sometimes they feel like they’re passing far too slowly. Maybe the batteries need replacing, you might think, but no. After a glance down at your watch, or after comparing the clock’s ticking to something else, you realize time is moving along exactly as it should.

Other times the seconds feel like they’re moving much too quickly. Surely something is wrong with the clock, you suspect. Something must be making it go haywire.

Nope. Wrong again.

Have you ever wondered what the concept of time would be like if a second was really a minute, or if a quarter-hour was actually a full hour? If this was the norm from day one, then the concept of time would probably be the same as it is to us now, since that would be all we’ve ever known it to be.

But what if time changed in the middle of our lives? What if there was a new measurement for a second, a minute, an hour, and what if days, weeks and months were redefined? What if something happened to make the aging process speed up? What if our lifespan was severely altered?

All hell would break loose, that’s what.

Aside from it being difficult to wrap my head around, I know one thing for sure: things would be reprioritized. I’d talk less and do more. In the case of loved ones, I’d think less, edit less and tell more. In the case of the bucket list, I’d decline less and tackle more.

If we think about time as we know it, many of us would realize that we’re constantly putting things off because we assume we’ll be around for another hour, another day, or another year. I’ll do it tomorrow, in a few months, when I have more money, when I look better. I’ll get outside of my comfort zone after I’ve worked up to it, when I feel more sure of things, when I get a green light from someone or something, when I know I won’t get rejected.

The speed of time is exactly as it should be so as not to cause undue whiplash to our individual worlds. Think about it: we put on weight over time, not overnight. We don’t see wrinkles or gray overnight (although sometimes it feels this way), but over the years. We don’t suddenly wake up and find that our bodies refuse to be as flexible and agile as they used to be — it happens after repeated use and countless matches, games or workout regimens…or injuries.

But at the end of the day, a little whiplash could be exactly what we need. I know I do. But time isn’t going to give it to me — I have to do that one on my own, lest I wake up a year from now and look back on this blog, on my morning routine and my job, and realize that nothing has changed.

Nothing.

I don’t know that I’m in the mood for “nothing,” so here’s to doing something about it. Here’s to self-inflicted whiplash in my own life since time is going to keep plodding along as it always has, and here’s to whatever it brings: failure, success, stumbles and triumphs. I will be thankful for them all.

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