Time.

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I have often been puzzled over the apparent acceleration of time as I get older.  Why does time seem to go by so much faster now than when I was younger?  I conclude this to be a personal matter of perception, a phenomenon provoked by my growing awareness of my own mortality, the fact that I’ve crossed over into my 30’s and it may be more challenging to think of the glass half full as opposed to half empty… but I continue to remain quite positive.

Personal perception or the reality of time itself, I have always harbored a certain resentment towards time.  I do look back with regret over many things, over time that I’ve wasted, or all things I should have done, said, went to, not said and not done.  As I move forward, I strive to make the most of the rest of my life.  My life, my path, my karma, my choices, all monumental and moving in their own ways, have shaped and remarkably changed me, and I refuse to be one of those that says, “I wish I would have…”  But some days, I’m still rendered unsatisfied with where I am in life, all the while knowing that I’m on my way, I can’t get it all in one short day, there is a whole process to getting from point A to point B.  I sometimes go to bed at night and nag at myself for the things I didn’t get done that day, reminding myself that the process takes time, and I still have tomorrow.  But how many tomorrow’s I have, there is no guarantee there, but that’s a whole other conversation in itself. 

In my past experiences, it’s all the in-between that seems to be the most memorable.  All the things that happened from A to B, and in those memories, the time I remember I not only cherish, but I share, I logically pick apart, I pass on, I write about, I analyze, and I recognize as valuable to my life and to the pieces of me that make up my spirit..

Time.  Everyone knows that time can be quick and slow.  Sharp and quiet, long and short, true and false, and all of these at once.  Everyone knows that time is not a fixed commodity.  Time is not mechanical, uniform, steadfast, or absolute.  Time, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  There is no universal clock ticking off the seconds by which we all grow.  Everyone knows that time is relative, slippery, illogical, and unchangeable.  The time in each day is a predictably proportioned sequence of morning, noon, and night, and just like the day before, we can expect the same today and tomorrow. 

Time.  We have means of measurement that have themselves been often altered to be the most precise and accurate, evidence of our attempts to nail down time and gain a sense that we are one step ahead… But no matter how persistent (or consistent) we are in measuring time, it still eludes us.  Time itself is something else again, not a thing at all but a force like the wind, undeniable but invisible, and yet evidence of it is apparent everywhere, for better or worse, it’s effects are all around us.
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I have written about time before and found in the process, then and now, that most of what I think I know about time seems to change, depending on the time of my life that I’ve chosen to analyze my thoughts on this popular paradoxical subject of mine.  But how many ways can we reference time?  Time passes, time flies, time flows.  Time, we have been told, is a gift.  Time is an avenger, a devourer, a destroyer, a disordered thing.  Time, we hope, heals all wounds.  We talk about spending time, serving time, doing time.  We talk about buying time, borrowing time, stealing time.  At one time or another, we have all had time on our hands, time to squander, time to kill.  More often we say we are pressed for time: like a shirt, like grapes for wine, like a flower in a book, like a hand against a heart.  Time, we say, has run out on us: like milk, luck, or an unfaithful significant other.  So much time, we complain, is lost: like sunglasses, car keys, or our souls…

Time, I once thought, has always been a monkey on our backs.  Time, like gravity, is irrefutable.  Time, I once read, is just God’s way of keeping everything happening at once.  We teach our kids to tell time: like a fortune, a lie, or a story.  The truth is you cannot tell a story without it.  Time is the medium of history and change.  Without time, history does not exist.  Neither does a story of any kind.  In a story, one thing happens after another…and then and then and then.  Time is the natural propellant of narrative, and one of the luxuries of story is being able to move around in time in ways you never can in real life. 

The truth is, you cannot even write one single sentence without it.  Past. Present. Future. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. Beginning. Middle. End. Sooner or later. Then and now… It was once said that time is the longest distance between two places.  One of those places is then, the other is now.  Is it an accident that the word, then, refers to both the past and the future?  While the word, now, is just an attempt to isolate the present moment?

As much as I think of time, I find it hard to imagine the end of time.  I can’t imagine the end of time with my family and loved ones, or their end of time on Earth.  And even as it is impossible for me to imagine the end of time, the end of the world, still I also believe that time itself will continue, even if all else ends.  I am predisposed to eternity.  I find infinity easier to believe in then some future moment when time itself will stop.  Truthfully, the more I think about time, the less I understand it, the less I grasp any sense of it.  I do know for certain that I have lived through time, my time, extraordinary time, and ordinary time.  I have wasted time, served time, done time, had productive time. I have had precious time, memorable time, remarkable time, incredible time. I have had too much time and not enough.  I have waited for time to go by and wished that it would just stop dead in its tracks.  I have had time to laugh and time to cry.  I have thought of time as my enemy and also as my friend.  I have been in time, on time, and beyond it… Just as I have always been, I am, and I will be.

~ Jen Lefever Wood

To see a wonderful piece written by a talented & beautiful dear friend of mine, also on the mention of time, click HERE. It is a Poetic Duet written by Hastywords and Stacy Self called ‘Left Sinking’. Enjoy!

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4 responses to “Time.

  1. Does time only exist because we made it up? Or maybe it did exist, but it just wasn’t measured. Death is a scary idea because we have no way to measure it and no idea what it’s like, but I’ve always wondered if the concept of time exists after we die.

    • Tiff – I have wondered that too.. Obviously as I wrote this piece on time, it was not my first. I believe that there is no concept of time after we die. Of course, death in itself is and will always be a mystery until we get there, but we are free to believe. I have thought more about death and the life after, if there is one, where do we go, etc… this year than I ever have. After my brother was killed and taken from me and our family, I can’t get through one single day without wondering, Can he see me? hear me? Is heaven beautiful? Is heaven real? I have comforted myself with a few set beliefs, but many maky questions remain still greatly misunderstood.
      ~Jen XOXO

      • I was one of my dad’s hospice caregivers, and I literally had to watch him die from liver disease. You end up choking to death on fluid and there is no way anyone can help you. He was terrified and kept saying he couldn’t breath. He was really scared of dying. I had to stay with his body, because a normal ambulance doesn’t come when someone is on hospice. I didn’t think his body looked that peaceful. So I have very mixed feelings about death. I like to think there is a Heaven, but I lean more toward reincarnation theories. I like to think that people get to come back to Earth and try again, until they can finally live a peaceful life of understanding where they don’t harm anyone or themselves.

  2. Your thought process and writing style reminds me of me. I am fairly certain I have had all the same thoughts rolling through my head since I was first alerted of my own mortality at the age of 8.
    You are absolutely right, the more we ponder time and what it means, the less we understand or can know its meaning. Time truly is a paradox.

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