So the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun.” So, imagine living the manifestation of a lifelong dream, then you tell me: can “time” beat its own record for speed?
For lack of a better metaphor, this fall’s been the Usain Bolt of all other yearly contenders. November was a blur, as it flew at lightning speed from the coastal city of St. Malo, into the rooms and stairwells of Château de Langeais. How is it already almost Christmas? I ask myself this (not so) rhetorical question every time I turn the page of my planner.
With the Earth moving over 1,000 mph at a steady 24 hours every day, it’s no wonder we struggle to make sense of time. When I was probably about 12, I had an interesting exchange with my dad. He made a comment like, “these years keep passing quicker and quicker,” and I replied with a smart alec remark along the lines of, “no, it’s the same every year, you just keep expecting it to take longer than 365 days.”
Maybe somehow we’ve misunderstood what one year is like, in terms of expectations of length of time. We perceive one year as something much longer, so when it ends, we think, “that’s it? that was quick!” when in actuality, our expectations were just fallacious. Considering this happens most years, maybe we should shorten our expectations.
However, this is fallible, and as to not discredit every feeling we’ve ever shared, I want to acknowledge the validity and reality of my dad’s comment. It seems the older I get, the more I realized how precious each passing moment is– how it contributes to both the bigger picture and also the intricacies of my experiences. It’s the basic Molly McIntire conundrum: we allow time to drag on when we don’t like its offerings, but once it tastes good, it’s gone in a split.
The good news? If life is getting faster and faster, we must be enjoying it more and more.
That’s my goal, at least. I’m not afraid of too many things. I’ve voluntarily gone face-to-face with the world’s deadliest spider in the wild, I’ve been bungy jumping and I’ve eaten Andouillete. Amid other things on the list, I moved abroad without money, with student loans, and a vague ability to speak the language. Not because I wasn’t afraid, but because I was afraid time would pass before I gave it a chance.
People think I’m lucky. That’s probably true. I’m also blessed. However, I also believe in taking risk and working harder than yesterday and being afraid of giving up.
Nothing teaches humility like learning a second language and clunky cultural adjustments. While not daily (anymore… thank goodness that time passed), I, as a young adult, have to regularly ask questions that people learned the answer as children. I have to ask the cashier to show me the total amount because I don’t know my numbers. I ask people how to turn on lights. I’ve asked where to buy toilet paper.
Meanwhile, time’s passing so quickly in all corners of my little world. I can see it in the way my niece has grown a little bigger and a little cuter since our last FaceTime date. My closest friends only have one semester left of university and I missed everything that happened during the first. Worst of all, my dog is already 6 years old, meaning half his life is potentially over and I’ve missed 2/3 of it while living in Arizona and France.
As much as I’d love to, I can’t live in two places at once. Not to get bogged down, I need to share my time and live in every moment. That’s why I’m eating all the French pastries, going on all the weekend getaways and bringing home all the Christmas presents.
I’m filled to the brim. Heading into the Christmas season and preparing for a long flight to California for a short stint home, I’m overwhelmed by my experiences and opportunities. While my months in France are seemingly exceptional, I can’t help but put them into prospective and realize however amazing and extravagant, I’m equally thankful for the little moment that pings my heart something fierce when I hear my little niece calling my name.
With all my memories, opportunities and relationships, what a time to be alive.