June 17, 2010


It always amazes me, especially in this point in my life, just how quickly the days seem to fly by.

As kids, it seems like days would never end. Whether we were at school, writing a test, helping with the housework on Saturdays, playing with our friends… time seemed to take a long time. But now, it seems like there just isn’t a lot of time to get anything done.

There are a couple of days in particular through my week, where I dread it. I dread it because they are busy days. Many classes all in a row. However, by the time I begin, it seems like suddenly, the day is over. Even thinking about this past year (so far), and all that has happened. In the middle of February, I got reconnected with my family. In March, my ‘da goo-goo’ passed away. At the beginning of May, my friend went away to China for a month, and has already been back for 2 weeks!

I realize that time is a constant. It doesn’t change. There are just as many seconds in a minute today, as there was 10 years ago, or 50 years ago, or 1000 years ago. It’s our perception of time is what changes.

In some ways, I’m beginning to understand elderly people. Partly, because I’m getting to that stage myself – slowly, but quickly! I was trying to think the other day how old my cats were. Someone had asked about their ages. I had to stop and think, and gave what I believed was the right answer. However, and thankfully I did this for myself, in their vet books (book provided by the vet for schedule of shots, exams, etc.), and realized that I was out by a year. Where I thought that Ignatius was only a year old, he’s actually 2!

I’m sure there are lots of quotes and idioms in our language about time. The one that sticks out the most is, “A watched kettle never boils.” I truly understand this ‘saying’. Take Wednesday this week. For Taiwan, it was Dragon Boat Festival – a day off, a holiday. I figured get up early, get some work done, do some housework, go and watch the races… sure, I did all that, but it seemed liked it only took a couple of hours – not the whole day that it ended up taking!

I sometimes wonder if we’re not all cats and dogs on some level. I mean, if time seems to slip by so quickly for us, what can it be like for our pets? You can go online or ask a vet this question and get somewhat exact timings, but it’s generally accepted that the differential in cats and dogs ages compared to ours (humans) is 7:1. For every year we experience and grow, it is like 7 for our pets. That being said, then every minute for us, is like 7 for them. One day to us is equivalent to a week for them.

So, here I am wanting to take three weeks to go to Canada. In their view of things, this would be like me being gone for around 5 months! 5 months!! No wonder they get upset when I go away for a long weekend. To them, it seems like I’ll never be back. Come back after 5 months?? Will they even recognize me?

We have so many ways in English of referring to time. Of course, we all know the regular terms: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc., etc. This helps us get a perspective on things. It helps us to understand when something happened or for how long. Trying to explain some of these terms to speakers of another language, at times, is not as easy as one would think.

Then there are the other terms that are a little more ambiguous. Eon, period, moment. Try explaining these concepts! For instance, exactly how long is an ‘eon’? How many minutes is a ‘moment’? Again these are concepts of time that help us to figure out how long or when something happened relative to our state of being. But explaining these ‘time concepts’ to speakers of other languages, can be a bit daunting, to say the least.

I’ve heard it said, or rather speculated, that the closer one reaches the speed of light, the slower time ‘travels’. We’ve all seen programs like “Star Trek” or some other space-type program where they test these types of theories. In some instances, even the idea of going backwards in time is touched upon. In other instances, being able to jump between times, such as in the movie, “The Time Machine”.

I sometimes wonder if it would be worth it to slow down time a bit. I did suggest in one blog a while back, about the idea of going forward or backward in time. Some people may speculate on whether a tree makes a noise if it falls in the forest, and no one to hear it… well I speculate on whether it would really be possible to slow down time or even go backwards. Or would it be better to live on a planet like Mars where the day and year are longer? I think it would be like moving into a bigger home.

When you move from one place to another, generally you find something a bit bigger. Wow, so much space, you’ll never fill it up. Lo and behold, in a matter of months, it looks more crowded than the previous place, and you wonder how you were able to live in such a small residence.

Time would be the same I feel. Saying it was possible, move to another world where the days are longer. Okay, cool. More hours to get more done. The year is longer. Cool, more days to do more things like travel or relax. I think that in a short while, you’d have all that time filled up, and wonder how you were able to survive on a planet where there were ONLY 24 hours or 365 days. How did you ever get anything done in such a short period of time??

For now, this is where we live. This is what we have to deal with. There is no more and certainly no less than in days gone by or in days future. We’ll just have to make due with the time we’ve got, and make the most of it.

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