Life Goes By So Fast…(Part One)

“They say I’m old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!”
― Dr. Seuss

“Life goes by so fast.”, “Where does the time go?” “Next thing you know Kate will be headed to college.” etc., etc., etc…

Of all the advice offered to new parents, and this new dad, the most consistent refrain is to “enjoy every moment, because it all goes by so fast”. Friends, family, co-workers, even passers-by at the mall will echo this theme. The words might change a little, but the sentiment is the same.

This theme comes up so often that there are days where I expect at any moment a super nostalgic flash mob is going to appear belting out a rendition of Sunrise/Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof.

Sure the chorus of these reminders trends towards the cliché’. In my opinion, kids or not, once you cross 35, you can’t help but wonder “Where did the time go” on a daily basis.  Cliché’ or not there is a powerful and humbling truth conveyed in this simple set of words.

“Life goes by so fast…”

So often the focus of these words, this phrase, is the “fast“.

Days getting X’d off the calendar not in order, but in bulk. It is only after two weeks go by that you remember you had a calendar at all.

When parents meet other parents, friends, and family the standard small talk is as follows:

“How is Tim doing? What is he now? 4? 5?”

“Tim is 8.”

Huh? Who knew?

Your friend is not mad. As adults we all have a matter of fact way of acknowledging that none of us have a firm grasp of time any more. We experience the lives of those around us in starts and jumps. Nephews and nieces go from babies to toddlers to teens in what seems like a blink. Aunts and uncles go from tickle monsters and little league coaches to grandparents seemingly overnight.

Kate throwing up on my favorite sweatshirt might trigger a fond, if not hazy, remembrance from college. In 2015 a memory from college is a simultaneous reminder that the event crossing my mind occurred in the 1990’s! The late 1990’s but still stings.

Of course it takes years, weeks, days, and a huge stack of hours for all of this to happen. Of course (setting high end physics aside) no hours are really any longer or shorter than the rest. So why do we all perceive such a rapid flow of the river of time through our lives?

“Life goes by so fast…”

See this is the key.

Life is the undervalued and mysterious yin to the yang of Fast.

Life is HUGE.

Being human means sometimes Life is just too damn big for any of us. Not too big in the sense of too hard, or difficult. That can be the case sometimes but in this instance Life being too big means that it is impossible to take it all in.

Who doesn’t want to cherish every moment?  Maybe cherish is the wrong word for the “get-the-scissors, cut-off-the-poopy-onesie, start-the-bath, five-alarm-diaper, situations?”  While you want to forget the smell, you never want to lose that memory.

Of course we all want to know, process, learn, and share in the lives of those we love. Facebook is the Frankenstein monster born of this more noble idea. 

Feeding the crying, sleepless baby helps the vacation day dreaming, but seems to take a bite out of vacation reality. Day after day of the feed, change, cuddle, sleep, pictures, feed, change, hallelujah babysitter Saturday trivia night, then holy S$&T she is driving?!? Where did that vacation bucket list go?

How can we possibly make room for all that we want to remember, cherish, reflect, honor, and pass on? 

Part Two is all about addressing that question.

Maybe after reading this you pause and let me know how you would answer this age old quandary?

For me, tonight, I think a hug from my wife, a smile from my daughter and a small pour of 18 year old Scotch will turn down the volume of the world telling me

“THE INFINITE & INCALCULABLE MOMENTS WE EXPERIENCE SECOND TO SECOND MOVE AT A STAGGERING VELOCITY”.

Well, to be fair, that might be the Scotch talking. Might have poured more than one. Might not have been a small pour.

What I really hear the world telling me, through the polite, sincere voices of those kind enough to take time out of their fast/enormous lives to offer this sage advice.

“Pay attention to the details. As many as you can.”

Why?

“Life goes by so fast…”

P.S. Thank you for reading.

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