“How did it get so late so soon?” —Dr. Seuss
I admit it—I am nearing my Biblical three score and ten (years that is). I am shocked and a little miffed at how quickly it has all gone—all those years, all those days, all those precious minutes—poof!
I know—I am taking the passage of time very personally. (And you don’t?) I wonder…is there a way to distance ourselves from the emotional shock the passage of time gives us? Isn’t there a way to make time feel more like a friend?
Sure! If we just get outside the box. You are welcome to climb out with me and chase some bright, new perspectives.
“Life is long, history short” —from the blog babelniche.wordpress.com
Let’s start here: How does a lifespan of 70 years compare to the entire time human babelniche.wordpress.com takes an even brighter view of life’s brevity (and he is only fifty!): “…all of human history is short, maybe 5000 years. My own lifetime covers 1% of that, and I’m just some guy. It would only take 100 lives like mine to cover it all.” (So what if he cheats a little on the human history numbers.) How can “some guy” approaching seventy complain if only 72 of my lives would span human history?civilization has existed on earth? Wikipedia tells us civilization began roughly 10,000 years ago. A little division reveals that just 143 seventy-year life spans would equal the whole time span of human civilization! The blog writer at
“The speed of time is the speed of the universe.” ―Khalid Masood
You may be thinking, “But what about cosmic time? Seventy or eighty years is an infinitesimally small part of the nearly 14 billion year life of our universe.” (If you weren’t thinking it, isn’t it time you do?) “It makes one human life-span seem almost non-existent!” You have made a clever point there, and a very humbling one!
Well, let’s see…. We seem unable to talk about time except in measured pieces, so let’s measure a piece of time at the very beginning of the universe. Let’s look at what cosmologists call the Inflationary Epoch.
I don’t understand the physics of the big bang, but apparently the Inflationary Epoch doesn’t have anything to do with money! It is when the universe expanded faster than the speed of light. (Wow! Who knew that could happen?) The inflation theory is considered very important to the present structure of our universe—and therefore, of course, important to our present existence.
“And how long is this Inflationary Epoch?” you ask. It lasted 10 -32 second. A billionth of one second is huge by comparison.
(Actually, only the latter part of the first 10-32 second accounted for inflation, but I hope you don’t want me to explain the Planck Epoch and the Grand Unification Epoch both of which came earlier—not only do the physics totally baffle me, I don’t have a watch with increments that small!)
Now, compare this critical early period of the universe (remember: 10-32 second) to a Biblical lifespan. Seventy years is, if you can trust my math, one thousand trillion, trillion, trillion times the inflationary period! Isn’t it amazing? Compared to this early epoch of creation, you are living almost forever!
“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” ―Bill Watterson
In case that all sounded too cosmological, let’s consider what we are doing with the time we do have.
- According to Nielson, the average American watches five hours of television a day, and those over 65 years old average over seven hours a day. Makes you wonder if there is a little real life hanging around unused?
- The average American uses social media 1.72 hours a day. Are we (1) experiencing more life in the time we have because we enjoy so many lively human connections? Or are we (2) staring at little screens and wasting precious time on nonsense?
- The International Labor Organization says Americans work 499 more hours per year than the French. If you love working all those extra hours, good for you! If not—why not behave more Frenchly? (Is that a word?) Almost ten more hours a week of free and think of all those French pastries!
This all reminds me of a widely known quote from William Penn (which I never heard of until I just now found it with a Google search) who said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
Well, I hope this brief discussion has brought you a fresh outlook on whatever time you have left! It has definitely helped me. I’m going to the baker to see if I can find a raspberry and cream cheese croissant.Share: by