When I’m lucky, I get the chance to travel, and I suppose I’m extremely lucky. One of my favorite trips is going to see old friends and visit my founding church in Southampton. The trip from Cincinnati to Eastern Long Island is literally one that requires planes, trains and automobiles. All things considered, leaving my home in Newport, KY and arriving at my friend Bobbie's house takes about 6-7 hours on a good day.
What amazes me is how warped our perception of time and space has become. Think about the years of your childhood, say years 0-18. If you quantify that time in your memory it seems like a very long time compared to the passage of time later in life.
Time is a funny thing. I feel as I get older that I am getting older faster. I wish that weren’t the case but as my 48th birthday approaches I have to remind myself that it’s really true. We grow into midlife, and beyond, expeditiously. I remember when we were young and counted our age in quarters and halves. I always smile when a child tells me that they’re four and a quarter years old, and celebrate each “quarter-stone “with a joy for life that we should all remember.
My partner and I often have to check-in with each other when we’re with others and we’re comparing age. I often hesitate and look to him for help, and when he looks as confused, I actually have to subtract years in my head. It really isn’t some sort of subconscious suppression of memory because I don’t want to admit that I am approaching the big 5-0. I don’t fear age—I just wish it took longer.
We strangely combine our hectic lives with a strange preoccupation with pastimes. I am admittedly critical of kids today because I think they spend too much time with their face in video games. I don’t think they leave the house in the morning and build forts, dig ponds, play imaginary school or whatever else the wild imaginations of children can conceive.
Now they turn on a video game—virtually real—and need only identify with that which has already been imagined for them. I think they need to go outside and get some sun, breathe some fresh air, play until dusk, get sweaty and as tan as a berry. They’re missing out on the fun of being covered in mud from head to toe, picking wild raspberries and getting poison ivy in the process. Do they take vitamin D? I know for a fact that my Mom relied on the sun’s nutritive power.
But times change, and while I wish I could spend my idle time attending lectures at the Mercantile Library or volunteering for the needy, but instead ...I play video games. My video game may me Facebook, web surfing or Candy Crush. Television is one of my video games. I tend to have an i-something in my hands at all times. Have we become our children, or vice versa?
I guess our kids only know what they know, but I sure wish they could realize that there is nothing better than a good nighttime game of capture the flag with neighborhood friends. The use of our imagination is inspired--literally "in-spirare" or "in spirit." Creation is divine--the use of the mind and heart to make something from nothing is the art of the universe.
But time warps, and our need for something bigger, better and faster is now a part of our psyche. I can’t stand traffic, waiting in line at the grocery, or being put on hold. It’s aggravating, and it seems like time stands still as I suddenly remember all of the things I could be doing instead.
Here’s what I would like. I would at least like my non-waiting life to move at the same perceptual speed as the excruciating long line at the Sam’s Club. Even better, I would like the next 18 years to feel like it took as long as my first 18.
And can’t these damn planes, trains and automobiles go any faster?