It’s my oldest daughter’s 14th birthday today and I found myself remarking to someone earlier that it’s amazing to think how quickly its passed. And then I thought about it and, to be honest with you, I was talking sh!te. I don’t actually think its passed quickly at all.
It’s one of those statements that gets thrown about, isn’t it, ‘aaah, they grow up so fast’. But they don’t. They grow up at exactly the same rate we do! One year at a time. I get it, kids these days are more mature and ‘grown up’ than in my day but for me that’s just the nature of an evolving intellectual and social culture, I’m pretty sure my parents and grandparents thought the same for me.
When people make that statement about growing too fast, they tend to be taking about a perceived passage of time, rather than an emotional maturity, and that’s where I think that statement doesn’t stand up. It’s the same as ‘Life is so short’…no it’s not, it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do! No argument.
I think one reason that people think time passes too fast is because they are a passenger of life rather than an active participant in it. You know what I mean? Time passes quickly in your mind when you’re not paying attention or when you do little to fill it (it also passes quickly when you’re having fun but I have still to hear anyone who has a fun life complain about not having enough time!). When you’re not paying attention to your life, or doing little to fill it, that’s when you end up looking back and finding that the last 5 years is a sparse landscape of occasional highs, drunken blackouts and the occasional tantrum. Time has passed at the same rate as everyone else (yep, still one year at a time) but you only have 10 significant memories to fill that time so it feels like its owed quickly.
As an active participant you fill every day with something. It may not always be a good thing but its a something! Is by doing this, by being involved, by pushing limits, by succeeding, by missing, by enjoying and growing and doing this you enjoy that you look back and think ‘I can’t believe all this stuff has happened in such a short space of time’. You have a thousand memories over that same space of time and its incredible to think you managed to do so much in such a short timespan. This is the secret to slowing down time. Fill it with stuff!
As I sit here typing this almost 14years ago to the very minute that I would have held wee Jodie for the very first time (she was born at 9:09pm!), I’m humbled, surprised and delighted at all that has happened in those years and it doesn’t feel like it’s flown by at all. To be honest, it feels just perfect. I wouldn’t want her to have grown any faster or any slower (and even if I did the laws of physics wouldn’t have allowed her too!). I’m glad to have taught her how to actively participate in her own life and I’ve done that because I first learned how to be an active participant in my own (but that’s a story for another time).
No one needs permission to be involved in their own life but many people wait for it. Needing permission to board your own life is passenger thinking. Haven’t you realised yet? You’re the fecking driver and its about bloody time you decided where you’re going and how quickly you want to get there!!
Vroom vroom, people, vroom vroom…