The Jewish New Year is today. It is a time for reflection, new beginnings, and also a time we often say, “I can’t believe how fast time has gone!”
When discussing the concept of time, the sentiment that usually rings the loudest is how time keeps moving faster and faster. However, the other day my friend/ hairdresser/magician, shared a book with me about this concept, and in it was a quote that struck me:
“Time isn’t speeding up, we are.”
I have felt for a while now that the Universe must be sitting on the fast forward button as so many of us play beat-the- clock every day. But perhaps it is we who are pushing the hands of time. We’re busy running errands, texting, checking email, quickly grabbing food to eat quickly in the car between the soccer game and the dance class. Everything has to happen quickly. The red light doesn’t turn green fast enough, going 75 mph in the fast lane feels slow, and if a web page doesn’t open immediately we become impatient and frustrated.
The Internet is a huge contributor to increasing the speed of life and usurping our quality time and attention from others. People take nosedives into their phones all day long walking down the street, driving in the car, and while sitting with each other at a meal. They say the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Noses are down and life’s moments are escaping. They are flying by. We run around being busy, often neglecting our most precious relationships and ourselves.
It truly takes a conscious desire and awareness to be present and in the moment. I encourage and challenge us all to slow down a little and make an extra effort to listen more intently, and to look at those you love more attentively. Thornton Wilder addressed this issue years ago, and with such eloquence and emotion. I’ve cited this passage before from Our Town and still, each time I read it I get goose bumps and a lump in my throat. It is also a moving reminder with which I will leave you to contemplate:
(Emily has just died in childbirth and has been given the chance to go back home to a time she wishes to see. Looking at her mother and father whom she will never see again, she realizes that it was a mistake have gone back.)
“I can’t bear it. They’re so young and beautiful. Why did they ever have to get old? Oh, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me. Let’s look at one another.
I can’t. I can’t go on. It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. (She breaks down sobbing, she looks around) I didn’t realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed. Take me back – up the hill – to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners. Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths, and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute? I’m ready to go back. I should have listened to you. That’s all human beings are! Just blind people.”
Stop. Look. Listen. Not just a helpful reminder before crossing the street, but perhaps also for making our way through life with more awareness and appreciation.
And as always…
Live Passionately and Vulnerably,