I used to be surprised when people would say, in casual conversation, how fast life, or the year, was going by. Kids growing up, sure. But years going by? No.
Not for me. It is not unusual for me to stop at this point in the year and WONDER at the fact that January seemed so far away. This year, for instance, I would have gone from January 1 in New York through winter in Sacramento, which was an unusually long (but planned) stretch, to work.
But then, starting in early April, I would have been in New York, then Barcelona, and today I would be crossing the Pyrenees Mountains from France into Spain, on El Camino de Santiago. And by my birthday, mid-June, I’d be celebrating with loved ones in Bologna.
But I’m still in Sacramento. And it’s Memorial Day. More than that, it’s FRIDAY again!! Wasn’t it just Friday?
The days and weeks and now months feel like they’re racing by, and this proves what I had long thought: My years seemed so long – if not slow – because so much happened. In a normal year, I would have also had a month in Kyoto for cherry blossoms before going to Spain.
I’m not saying this to brag, or complain. It’s more like it’s an interesting insight into life and living it in ways that make it seem longer and richer. The way to do that, as best I can tell, is to do a lot with the time you have.
I’m lucky, I don’t have a job in one place, so i can move around, and my work likes that I move around. (Did I mention I have a book being published in January about Japanese culture, arts and food, Japan from Anime to Zen (available for preorder on Amazon)?
Because I can move around, I can pack more into a year. I could have been three or four places so far this year. I was supposed to be! You know what I’m saying: Think about how long your last real trip felt, even if it was just two weeks. A lot can happen in two weeks (those maitais before the bungee jumping seemed like a good idea at the time…). Doing a lot of new things makes life better, but it also, it seems to me, makes it feel longer – in good ways.
Of course, you can do that at home, too. You don’t have to be traveling. Setting some goals, making some plans with friends (and keeping them), getting out of town every other weekend, taking a class, falling in love…you can get to the end of the first quarter, or the end of winter season, and feel as though it was long and full. Because it was!
It wasn’t any longer than if you’d just gone to work every day and done chores every weekend, but if would feel much, much longer.
The shelter-in-place thing has really messed with my sense of time; has it yours? I miss my jam-packed life, I miss getting to, say, Memorial Day, and feeling like, YES! Killed it! Not, “Oh my god, it’s Memorial Day already?” That’s what I’m hearing people say, so I’m not alone.
I’ve actually gotten a few big creative things done, so that’s good; but being in the same place, with the same (delightful) people, at the same writing set-up, has definitely made life seem like it’s blowing by. And as an older man, I want to slow that mess down as best I can.
Anyway, just a random quick thought. Life will begin moving a bit more quickly soon, if not soon enough; time will start to feel perhaps a bit slower. This is a paradox, but it doesn’t have a name (unless Einstein had a name for it). I wouldn’t know.
All I know is I want to move around the way I used to, without worrying about getting sick, or passing the virus, and I want other countries to block me coming in because my own country is such a viral mess. I want things to go back to normal, and I know they won’t.
Mostly, I want this year to slow down a little, until I can speed up to meet it.