The Nature of Time

(Jun 26 · 4 min read – First published on Medium with The Ascent)

All my life I’ve marked time, segmenting it into manageable bites. As a witch, I’ve marked the turning of the year by seasons, solstices, and the equinoxes. As a worker, I mark the days of the week and the hours, my vacation time, my allotted sick days. As a human being I’ve marked time with life events; the passage from childhood to adulthood. Marriage. Divorce. Second marriage…and then motherhood. There will be a time when the death of my parents will make the list. As depressing as that is to me, I realize marking time is how the human mind works.

Time.

For a long time, I only looked forward. I couldn’t wait to grow up, couldn’t wait to leave home, get married. Divorce caused me to glance back over my shoulder at my past and ask the question of how I got there. But by second marriage and motherhood, I was racing forward again. Then somewhere along the way, I began to pay attention to the present. I wish I could say it was the birth of my son — that I realized how fleeting life could be while watching him learn to crawl, then walk, then run. But it wasn’t. I’m not sure when I slowed down and began to live more in the present than in the future. It was a subtle shift, over a period of years I think.

Time.

The speed at which my life flowed began to slow. I took more time to reflect, to appreciate the life-markers I had rushed through in my youth. I appreciated my partner more, my nearly grown son, and my work. I reached out and made connections, began to give back. I paid more attention to my health, my wellness, my spirituality.

Time.

My parents are old. I’m not old. I don’t feel old. I don’t look old. I don’t act old. I weight lift. I cycle. I’m a vegetarian. I cringe when someone calls me ma’am. It doesn’t matter that they are being respectful. To me, it’s a reminder that I’m not in my thirties anymore. I’ve pasted forty and am now in my fifties. Surely, that doesn’t make me old. Julia Roberts and I are the same age. That has to count for something.

Time.

I’ve stopped looking forward and yet I’m not ready to look backward. My parents look backward. They recount tales of their youth. And there are times they don’t remember. They’ve stopped trying to keep up with technology. They don’t text because they don’t want to learn how. It’s too hard to understand how to tweet. They don’t want to be on a cell phone all the time, have it apart of them like an extra limb. Their lives have slowed to take on a pace that is marked by meals, naps, television shows, and the needs of each other. They are now out of step with the world I live in. I get the feeling that this was a choice they made, but I missed that moment in time when they claimed the title of old for themselves.

Time.

I’m not there yet. But I’m beginning to feel just a little out of step myself. My son is nearly done with college. My husband and I are closer and kinder to each other than we were at the beginning of our marriage. Though I am still very much a part of the social media scene, there are moments that I wonder if I get it. I am beginning to check in with my son to see if I am still relevant. I had a friend the other day tell me her doctor used the “E” word for the first time with her. She’s ten years my senior, a beautiful and vibrant woman. Reading my confusion, she clarified. “Elderly.” I was shocked and then indignant on her behalf.

Time.

I still pay attention to the future. I worry about the environment, the current government policies, the lack of kindness and understanding in our county. And I’ve dug my heels in deep so that the sands of time don’t rush out from beneath me. It isn’t mortality I fear. My witch’s sight has shown me that there is so much more than this existence. No, it’s insignificance I fear. The day that my thoughts and life experiences no longer matter to others. I fear the day I am overlooked — when no one has time for me.

Published by

TarrantSmith

I'm an old soul born at a young age, and a full-time author working on a new series.