“Time flies like an arrow…fruit flies like a banana.”
What shall I write about today? Facebook has a mostly wonderful feature that allows you to see what you posted on that day in previous years. I say “mostly wonderful” because many of my posts are filled with witty observational humor or adorable anecdotes involving my family. However, sometimes I look back on what I posted and think, “Why did I post that? Nobody cares about the fact that I finished an assignment for my masters degree or I downed a whole pint of Talenti gelato in one sitting.” Now the one time I ate 13 Taco Bell tacos on my birthday was impressive, but I’ll save that for a future post. I’ve wasted enough time, so now it’s about time I talk about…time.
This week my Facebook memories have been festooned with pictures of my children on various first days of school throughout the years. Each picture features a child with a forced smile (wishing they were actually at school instead of taking that stupid picture), wearing their most awesomest school outfit, and holding up the number of fingers to show what grade they are starting (fortunately when they each started first grade they managed to hold up the right finger). I can’t wait until next year when my oldest starts eleventh grade and has to remove one of her new shoes to hold up a toe.
Each of these pictures also carries a caption that says things like “Can’t believe she’s already in fifth grade. Where does the time go?” Or “Can’t believe he’s starting high school. Time flies.” Or “can’t believe she’s driving now. We seem to be experiencing time at an increasing rate even though the concept of time is a man-made construct and there is actually no such thing.” (My wife gets rather wordy when she waxes philosophical)
The concept of time flying, or going faster every year is common among us humans, and maybe some other animals as well (except slow-moving animals like sloths and teenagers). Lots of songs have been written about time. “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper, “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce, and “One More Minute” by one of my favorite artists, the incomparable “Weird Al” Yankovic.
We often bemoan the fact that we cannot stop the passage of time, nor even slow it down. As Tracy Lawrence majestically crooned, “Time Marches On” and until the Flux Capacitor becomes a reality, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. The best we can hope to do is to make the most of every important moment. I know that sounds cliched, and I try to avoid cliches like the plague, but it’s true.
Collect Moments, not Things
People often say their life flashes before their eyes when they experience a near-death experience…which begs the question, does a dog’s life flash before his eyes seven times faster than a human’s? Wait…wrong question. What I meant to ask is, “If your life flashed before your eyes, what would you see?” I don’t think any of us actually knows how much time we have on this planet (or any other planet) so let’s be proactive. Rather than reflecting on how fast time passes, lets be sure to reflect on the way we spend this valuable time. Are we taking advantage of the time we have with our children while they still live with us? I love taking vacations with my family (usually), but I also love the memories we make on family game nights, or by sitting on the back porch, talking about stupid stuff and laughing like hyenas, or by reminiscing about the way time flies, and discussing the fond memories we have made together. We may have told these stories a thousand times, but every time we tell them, we tell them with the same excitement and fervor we had the first time we told them.
When my children grow up and leave the house I want them to carry many things with them…a solid education, a passion to do what’s right, the problem-solving ability to tackle life’s obstacles, and a treasure chest full of memories (mostly pleasant) that they can revisit throughout their lives. To me, that’s more important than how much “stuff” we gave them. Toys and clothes get outgrown, electronics wear out and lose their allure, and the Christmas present they so desperately wanted is often forgotten by spring. But memories…memories are the things they will always have with them. Memories are the things that will bring them a smile in the midst of a tough time. Memories are the things that will bring them peace when they lose somebody close to them. And memories are the things that we still have, even if we lose all of our possessions.
If you haven’t made a conscious effort to make memories, it’s never too late to start. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It can be small things like a meal out at a restaurant, an evening playing board games, an afternoon outside at a park or beach. Anything that forces everybody to unplug and focus on each other instead of their electronic devices. Your children might complain, but that’s how you know you’re doing it right. These may seem like small, insignificant moments, but I assure you, they won’t seem small and insignificant when they are remembered in the future.
To quote the famous American philosopher Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”
How about you? How do you make the most of the time you have with your loved ones? Drop me a comment and let me know; and be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on a single moment of the fun. Time flies, and you want to cherish every moment with my words that you possibly can.