Monday, September 26, 2011

Time, So Little, So Much

As he reflected on his life he became aware of time was always in the forefront of his thinking. From what he could remember  the only time, "time" wasn't in his calculations was for the first five years of his life. He could truly say that he was free of care as long as his mother, father and to a lesser extent his family of aunts, uncles and cousins were there. It seemed that one day he became aware that they were "there", always were "there", always existed and he was safe just being with them. The one thing he didn't like was that he had to do what-ever they told him to do regardless of the whether or not he wanted to do it. It was a small price to pay since they fed him, clothe him and kept him safe. During this period of his life time meant nothing. He woke up and played and was fed, washed and went to bed for naps or a night's sleep. For the most part it was the most carefree moment in his life. Once he started school things changed.

Time became very important. He had to get up at a certain time. He had to be at school a certain time for a certain amount of time. When he got out of school he had to take time for homework, as if the period spent in the school wasn't time consuming enough. He had to figure out how to convince his mother that he did all his homework so that he could have time to go out and play ball with his friends. His father came home at a certain time, 5PM and he had to be in to eat dinner because everybody had to sit at the dinner table when Pop was there. No ifs, ands, or buts. After dinner time led to bed time for rest and start the next day all over again with time deadlines all over the place. School sure changed the carefree days he once had.

He knew it was eight years in the school before high school's four years. At six years old eight years seemed excessively long and twelve years seemed an eternity. He tried to look at it in the short term, only six months until he was promoted to the next grade. BUT what if he wasn't promoted? He would have to spend more time going over the time just expended. Time couldn't move fast enough. He couldn't wait until he reached double digits, wow, ten, eleven and twelve. Then a teenager. Big enough to be able to beat up those who were beating him up, or so he thought. Time passed so slowly. He felt he would never be in high school. He was pretty sure he would never get out of elementary school.

There were good times. He hung out in the schoolyard where he spent time playing all sorts of ball, smoking cigarettes, talking about girls and getting into fights. These were the good times until his mother found out some of what he was doing and then came the bad times. AND he thought, "Boy when I grow up I'm getting out of here so I can drink, smoke and have all the girls I want without mom getting in the way!". But time was moving ever so slowly. Summers would drag on forever and it seemed it took longer than six months for a term to go by. He was sure a year was really longer because he never was getting to the time when he could be on his own. But like everything in life time does go by and suddenly he was in his twenties.

He had to go in the Army, everybody did back then, drafted or joined. He was faced with two years active, two years active reserve and two years inactive reserve. Again these years seemed like an eternity especially since he had his girl waiting for him. Would she wait? He was as unsure of that premise as he was about getting out of grammar and high school. She waited, thank God! After active service he had two years to serve in the active reserve which had two weeks away each year. Time just crawled until the service time was over. It seemed to him ever since he was kid, around six, he was looking forward to time passing so he could be older, more on his own, freer. Time always was standing still. Then he reached middle age, whatever that age might be and he couldn't stop time from flowing from one period to the next. The kids were growing up. All his relatives were getting older and before you knew it they were gone in a blink of an eye. It was all getting out of hand. He went to the universities at night over two decades. He thought he'd never get his high school diploma and now he had three degrees. The two decades of night college seemed to go by as quick as a flash.

Now as he is settling into old age he can't stop time from flying by. Where once he couldn't wait to be a preteen, then a teenager, then in his twenties now he just wants to enjoy the day and let the time slow down but it has to rush by, for that is life. In a way this period is similar to pre-school years for him. There isn't any goals he has to meet except those he sets for himself. There are no time periods such as the service or school or jobs that constrain him except those he sets for himself. What is missing is mom,dad and those uncles, aunts and cousins. As he reflects all those years seem to have gone by so quickly like a shooting star now that they have past. The one thing he has gotten out of it all is that while time may be your enemy it is also your friend and he just has to figure out how to keep it as friendly as he can.    
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