I reach out for perspective. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity has never been in my grasp, but then I find comfort in the thought that perhaps for all of us, time is simply relative to who we are and where we are on this journey.
For the newborn, time is measured by the intuitive need for food every two or three hours. For the next dozen years, the “grown-ups” define time for us: time to get up, time to go to bed, time to get ready for school, time to do your homework, time to do your chores. The child’s sense of time is more focused on anticipation: “How many weeks before Christmas?” “How soon is my birthday?” “When will school be over and vacation start?”
During the teens some melding of the above occurs - the beginning of a recognition that time has to be harnessed to fulfill needs and obligations, but still a disregard of time when distractions beckon. The flush of freedom from leaving home for college is followed by the rude awakening that it really is true that time and tide waits for no one. Entry into the working world can sharply define time as a taskmaster.
When romance enters, time can become a rosy cloud which envelops only the lovers and leaves the rest of the world moving along at its own pedestrian pace. Marriage, children, a house and garden, perhaps a two career partnership – and time begins to enclose us in a box and we strain against its sides with varying success.
Then like the loosening of a tight girdle, there come opportunities to take a deep breath and to begin to feel more control over demon time. For some, blessed with a happy marriage, good health, and successful children, this time may offer a second chance for a retirement career, for travel, to fulfill other dreams. For others enduring the loss of a partner, financial burdens, poor health, or unfulfilled career ambitions, this may be a time of coping.
Wherever life's journey has taken us thus far, however, we still have the choice of following the advice of the Irish maxim: “Dance as if no one were watching; sing as if no one were listening; live every day as if it were your last!”
I look down at the pillbox and decide that each day’s section is going to be welcomed as a gift, offering another opportunity for the spirit as well as support for the body. Time is still mine to use or lose.