When we were young time didn’t really go fast. Maybe because we didn’t have anywhere to be, no one was waiting on us and we didn’t clock watch and wonder how long we had left. Nowadays, I think of it often.
There’s never enough time. Time to do the chores, to go for a run, to have a long hot bath, to play with the kids. Every day it just seems to literally disappear and before you know it it’s bed time again. I do believe that age is a factor, it seems to go faster as we get older and research does back this up, speaking of how time passing quickly is linked to routine.
When we’re younger everything is new. Lots of things to discover and explore, new experiences and things to observe, and these memories are recorded for all of time. Teenage and young adult years are similar. 15-25 we experience lots of firsts. First love, first kiss, first drunken night out, first job and these too hold a special place in our minds and we will always remember that time well.
But as we get older, we become more predictable. The firsts are not as regular and are replaced with more scheduled practices such as work, chores and family life. As the amount of new experiences decreases so we tend to find a rhythm to our lives. Our mind records less of the non-interesting markers, meaning the period of time doing something routine seems to be shorter therefore time seemingly goes faster, even though the clock still ticks at the same speed.
The Office for National Statistics says that as of Dec 2017, the average life expectancy of Men in the UK is 79.4yrs old, with Women at 83.1yrs, and that’s if you’re lucky. I do love a good statistic but they do make you think about things and this one is none the different.
I’m almost 39 years old now which going by the national numbers means I’m just under the half way point to my ends of days. 44 more summer holidays, 44 more Christmas dinners, 44 more times all your Facebook friends will wish you a happy birthday, and only 44 more birthday cards I’ll buy for my kids.
Taking time out and finding that work | life balance is something we all search for and in the past I’ve been as guilty as hell for letting the former overtake the latter but for me, spending time with the family has to be a priority, it’s like an inner healing. All my work stresses diminish, the house chores and to-do lists slip away and I can switch off from the crazy monkey in my mind even if just for a short while and be mindful of what’s in front of me in that moment. But how long do I have left of doing this before they’re grown up, moved out, have their own lives? 6 years with my son if we’re fortunate, 9 with our daughter? Crazy how fast their lives have gone, in my eyes at least.
I’ve been without my Mother for 17 years, not far off half my life and the thought of leaving my children so young scares the hell out of me, more than the dying bit. But what this does do is reiterate just how important living life to the fullest really is and spending time right now with those that mean the most to you, before your days run out.
I’m not one for regrets, although I’m not saying I’d do everything exactly the same second time round but missing out on time with people closest to me only to look back on it in 30 years wishing I had given more would be the biggest regret of all, we simply cannot get this time back. Live in the moment, make your people your priority, make living your priority and always make new memories, no matter how big or small to help make the time slow down.
We’re always busy, trying to squeeze everything into an hour, a day or a week but we really do need to ensure we take time out to spend with those we love. We’ve not got forever, ok 44 years sounds like a while but when you put it into perspective, it’s really not that long considering I’m half way there, and that’s if I make it ‘til then. Here’s hoping.