Do you know what has been most surprising to me of all about adulthood? How fast time moves. For example, today is Christmas, and I don’t remember once having that “oh my goodness I can’t wait Christmas is taking forever to come” feeling. No, I only had the “what wait is Christmas really that soon I’m not ready for it yet” feeling. Sally, of course, felt differently, as I did at her age.
I’ve realized more and more that every day I live is a day I will never get back. Every evening is an evening gone forever. Time doesn’t stop—it just keeps moving.
These sorts of feelings make me think about what it is I want to last. These sorts of thoughts make me value all the more every moment I have with my husband and two children. Sometimes when I’m engrossed with one of my children in an activity, or just holding one while sleeping, I feel like time stands still, if only for a moment. These are the things I (and they) will have to keep—memories.
These sorts of thoughts and feelings also shape the work that I do. I think about things like my legacy, and what it is I want to be remembered for, and what it is I want to accomplish before I go, someday. The people I want to touch, the things I want to do. It puts things in perspective, really.
It puts other things in perspective, too. What is a spat with a spouse when every moment is something you never get back? What is a trying time with one of you children when every moment once gone is gone forever—except in memory? And drama—why play along with the drama with parents or other relatives when you have only one life to live, and this is it? It makes me feel very . . . zen? It helps me refocus.
Life isn’t just about those I touch, whether spouse or children or others, it’s also about me. Why live in fear or anxiety when this is it—when this life is all I’ve got? Why live ever hurried or always worried when I have but one life to live, and it’s moving past me whether I come along or not? Touching lives matters, yes, and so do all the things I want to accomplish while I am here on this earth. But ultimately, I want to look back someday and remember that I, too, was happy and fulfilled, that I, too, lived.
I said that the speed with which time seems to move has been the most surprising thing about adulthood, and it has, but it’s not all bad. It helps me focus, introspect, and live—live every moment. It helps me not take things for granted. It helps me look up from a busy world and just be. And for all of that I am grateful.