Time

4thJuly-1

I just realized that the photo above is the second long exposure photo in a row for this blog. Maybe I’m unconsciously trying to slow time down?

What prompted this particular post is that summer seems to be moving along so fast. Fourth of July came and passed(had a great time with friend and family, and got to try out a joojeh kabob recipe), and we are soon off for our summer vacation at my mother-in-law’s house. So excited, two weeks of surfing! As a kid, summer seemed to go on for such a long time(except towards the end where I wondered where it all went as I prepared for school and got somewhat depressed). As I get older it seem that time passes so much more quickly. I found a couple of articles explaining some theories as to why this happens here and here. It seems the prevailing theory is that when we are younger we are having new experiences on a much more frequent basis since most experiences are new to us. Since the events are new to us we tend to notice them more or pay more attention, and thus they are more memorable. To slow things down, they articles recommend creating more new experiences in your life.

I experience the sense of time passing quickly when I see my kids. I assume most parents go through that experience, I know my mom has been saying it all my life. My daughters are growing up so fast. It’s exciting, yet also scary and at times sad. I have videos of playing with older daughter in a pool when she was one, and this week she learned how to float on her back by herself. I ran across some photos of my younger daughter the other day on the computer from when she was about 6 months old. I was shocked to see that I didn’t really have a strong memory from that period. The first six colicky weeks are seared in my memory, and then there is a kind of blurring into the present where I remember her as basically the same as now, only younger. I felt so guilty for not remember her at that stage in the pictures, she looked so cute and smiley, yet I only remember a fussy baby crying and keeping me up at night. She too is growing up, and although she’s more interested in cuddling now than she was when younger it’s still sobering to know that she won’t be that little again. I’m wondering if I remember my first daughter’s early stages more clearly because it was my first time experiencing parenthood, a new experience! I’m setting the intention of trying to appreciate my daughters as they are now and will be at each stage of their lives. I only get to experience it once so it would be sad to not appreciate each stage of their lives and look back several years later and not remember much of it. I actually have thousands of photos, organized by month, as a way of keeping track of how they grow up, but it’s not the same has having specific memories of events and experiences.

That same sense of time passing quickly also comes up in my own life as well. My 20 year high school reunion is coming up in a few weeks, and that scares me a bit. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact the 1993 was really that long ago! Growing up I use to love listening to the oldies stations. The 60s seemed so much more interesting, yet so far away to me. I’m realizing that the 90s are to a kids now(at least in terms of time, maybe not coolness) what the 60s were to me. It’s an endless cycle with each new generation, but it’s striking me as more profound these days. It’s still makes me laugh when I end up on “modern rock” stations on the radio(my sister accuses me of being a radio snob since for music, I listen almost exclusively to college stations) and it seems that at least 80% of their material is from the 90s.

I guess what worries me most about time passing is realizing that I’ll be 40 in a couple of years, and I still having no idea what I want to do for a career. I ran across a blog post about job myths for people in their 20s. As I read it, the bits about using that period of your life to try out different things struck me. A lot of those issues about finding out what one wants to do in life apply to me, I’m just about 2 decades late to the game! For most of my life I KNEW that I wanted to be a professor at a university. Now, almost 10 years since my Ph.D I am strongly suspecting that a career in academic research is the wrong path for me. However, I still have no idea where to go. I don’t regret my time in college and graduate school( I did get to date my wife, play in a jazz band and learn to surf), but I hate the idea of all that training and those skills I had going down the drain(and out of my head) since then.

Going forward I hope that I can be mindful of the new experiences in my life, celebrate how the girls are growing up, and to keep creating new experiences in my relationship with my wife and not be afraid of changes(actually celebrate them!) to find my next career. Let’s also hope the “modern rock” stations on the radio evolve into something else than the equivalent of this generation’s oldies stations.

P.S. For those who read the previous post, the saga with my father-in-law continues. It has toned down a bit do his finding out child protective services did not have sufficient grounds to come out. I decided against sending a letter, which probably turned out be a good idea based on his last e-mail to the entire family with a summary of who had responded and what was discussed. It looks like we are setting some concrete limits during out vacation, but haven’t finalized all that yet. I think this will be a learning experience for all involved.