And so another year has passed, the fastest yet. Is this how it’s going to be now, each year passing more quickly, as we race towards middle, and ultimately old, age?
The fact is that a year is no longer a large and significant portion of my life. A year is one of many that I have already lived, and, I hope, one of many that I have still ahead of me. It’s 20 years since the Macarena, 19 years since Oasis released Wonderwall, 17 years since I watched Titanic five times at the cinema, 14 years since I graduated from high school, 10 years since Friends and Sex and the City ended…
So a lot has happened in 32 years, and a lot has changed, from MS-DOS to iPhones and iPads, from school discos to late night clubbing, from handwritten essays to PowerPoint presentations, from break-ups to weddings, from funerals to births. And it’s no wonder. Go back 32 years from my birth and you end up in 1950, the year that President Truman ordered the development of the hydrogen bomb, Disney released Cinderella, and the Korean War began. Yikes.
Time is relative, though. A year can pass quickly, while an hour can be agonisingly slow. Usually, of course, time slows down when you’re doing something unpleasant. My favourite Shakespeare quote from Macbeth is one that I clung on to as I endured hours and hours of school and university exams:
Come what come may,
Time and the hour run through the roughest day.
Of course the problem was that you couldn’t just sit and wait for time to pass, you had to actually concentrate and actively participate in the exam that lay ahead.
When you’re at school, you want time to pass quickly. You say that you’re 12 and three-quarters because it’s so important that you’re almost 13, which is so much older than 12. You plan your birthday party months in advance. You read magazines that are aimed at older teenagers. And you can’t wait to be a grown-up, when you can do what you want, when you have your driving licence and no homework or teachers telling you what to do.
Even as adults we want time to go quickly. We complain about Mondays and count the minutes until the weekend comes around. Then we count the weeks until our next holiday. And so time and the hour run through all days, until we shrivel up and to dust we will return.
Maybe that’s why I’m so seemingly obsessed with bucket lists, with travelling to new countries, learning languages, spending time with friends and family. I want to make sure that I’m using the time I have wisely, that I won’t have regrets. And, so far at least, each year has been better than the one before. I don’t long for my twenties or my teens, or even for the sweet innocence of childhood. Thank goodness for that, as I’m pretty sure that no one has invented time travel as yet.
So no looking back. Onwards and upwards! Here’s to another fabulous year, my 33rd. It’s going be a good one! The best to date, in fact.
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
– C. S. Lewis