We have a strange relationship with time. As children, it seems to stretch out in front of us, endlessly. Days are long, oft monotonous, and the routine of school, homework, exams seems to be a never ending loop with no end in sight. We can’t wait to grow up, to govern time, to make it do our bidding.
In our youth, time is still on our side. With the careless optimism that fills our days, we match our step with time, outpacing it sometimes with our feckless, buoyant energy, ignoring it other times in our sleepy, enervated lassitude but always, always taking it for granted.
When jobs, marriages, partners and children jostle for space in our lives, time is in short supply. We race from one moment to the next, barely pausing for breath. Days, weeks, months, years fly past and we can scarcely keep count.
It is in our twilight years that time once again slows down. Our days are numbered but they are no longer filled with a hurried urgency. We don’t have the luxury of an entire lifetime. We don’t have the insouciance of youth. Our fruitful, fertile days are history, and all that lies ahead is the certainty of death.
What is time then? Is it a friend that helps us grow, change, develop and experience life? Or, is it a foe that eludes us when we need it most, and stabs us when we aren’t looking?
Time is both and neither.
Time is a silent companion that knows only to march forward relentlessly. It bows to no one. It turns back for nobody.
The sad truth is, that by the time we come to appreciate its worth, it is nearly always too late.