No, this will not be a dissertation worthy of The Big Bang Theory, or a thesis for a PhD from Harvard. Instead it is an insightful look into the way we view time in our daily lives depending on our age, our personal situation and the 24 hours which form our parameters.
Years ago, my Dad had heart surgery. He would stare out the window, reciting the mantra one o'clock becomes two o'clock, two o'clock becomes 3 o'clock. This continued as he rattled through the hours of the day. My Dad was an optimist, a tough Marine that did not have the word "quit" in his vocabulary. To hear this daily chant, meant he must be depressed, a phenmonen we were unfamiliar with in our household. He vehemently protested that he was not depressed whenever we broached the subject and as he recovered it eventually became a moot point, although it continues as a family joke.
Two months ago, I underwent surgery for ovarian cancer. Being a carbon copy of my Dad, as my Mom repeatedly informs me, I thought I would bounce back within a couple of weeks, only to find the recovery was much longer and more arduous than my optimistic predictions. I began to realize what my Dad's mantra really meant and became focused on the impact of the relativity of time in our lives. Each task I undertook during my recovery seemed to take 10 times longer. The clock moved at an incredibly slow pace, as if weighted down by my own lack of energy. Yet, those around me continued in their daily activities unaffected by this phenomenon of the expansion of time within the same 24 hour period.
I thought about my own childhood and how summer seemed endless and how Christmas Eve lasted an eternity. Chores took forever to accomplish, while bedtime always arrived too quickly. High school was the first noticeable change in that timeline. It seemed to pass faster, despite never wanting to leave my friends and alma mater. My childhood became adulthood and time sped up as the years went by. Before I knew it, hours of walking the floor with my newborn, became watching them walk down the aisle to receive their diplomas, get married or walking their own newborns. All within the same 24 hour daily countdown.
As my strength returned, the days grew shorter. Now in chemo, there are long days and short days, yet all the days have only 24 hours. To my young grandchildren, it is taking forever for Grammy to be well again, so we can do the things we used to do. To my co-workers, they are shocked to see me back to work and how much better I look each day. Though, I am not back to my typical 10-12 hour days, the 6 hours seem just as long.
I continue to marvel at the passage of time, whether it is slow or moving at light speed. I have only to look back at pictures of my children, my 20 year old grandsons, and even myself a year ago, to realize that despite our best effort we are not able to really change the passage of time. We are merely travelers within those 24 hours, and for some of us the passage is longer than others. Therefore, my conclusion is that it is important to revel in each hour, every minute and the seconds for which we find ourselves at any tick on the clock. As my grandmother used to say, "this too, shall pass", and we will find ourselves on the speeding train of time once again.