Time, time, time
See what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities
-Paul Simon from “Hazy Shade Of Winter”
What happens with time? Why is it that, as I’ve grown older, the days get shorter and the nights get longer and I feel as if I’m left with so little time to get anything accomplished? I remember when I was a kid, running around outside, playing with my friends, time was endless. A 24-hour day was literally forever and I had all the time I needed to do anything. Was it because I had no idea of what time was? Because that would make sense…not understanding time would obviously make it go slower…
Then I grew to be a teenager. The first time I think I began to notice time was when playing basketball. When the clock ran out, the game was over. And for me, I never wanted the game to be over. Especially the last game. My senior year in high school, when my final game was played in the 2nd round of the Ohio basketball tournament, I remember wishing I could go back and do it all over again. It was the end of being able to do the one thing that I truly loved to do and when the clock struck 0:00, it was the end of that. Not that I would never play basketball again, but it was the end of the time that I would spend with those same guys, playing for our high school, playing in front of fans who were rooting us on. When the clock hit triple 0’s, it was the end of MY time on that court. Since then, our old high school has been turned into a parking lot and “The Pit”, as it was known, is no longer. All of my teammates have gone on to have families and jobs and, like me, are living day by day. I wonder if they ever think about when the clock hit zeros. I wonder if they remember what it was like having all the time in the world. I know I do.
Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
Into the future
-The Steve Miller Band from “Fly Like An Eagle”
In my college years, time was spent mostly working and studying and enjoying time with my friends. That time went by so quickly. So many memories and friendships built in those 4 years but even those are becoming shaded. I don’t remember as much of those days as I used to. 20 years removed from the days of hanging in the school lobby playing euchre, going to Wendy’s with my best friend, hanging out at the mall, listening to music at our college radio station. Those days aren’t as clear as they used to be and I blame time. As it slips away, one day at a time, I find my thoughts getting cloudy and things I used to remember so vividly about those years are being pushed into boxes and stored somewhere in my mind while new memories take their places.
My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way,
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay,
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it and as he grew
He’d say I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you
-Harry Chapin from “Cats In The Cradle”
Everyday now I wake up with a sense of urgency. There is no playtime. I don’t have the luxury of not understanding time anymore. As a matter of fact, my life, for the last 18 years, has been nothing BUT minutes and seconds. Time is of the essence; Our show starts at EXACTLY this time. My flight leaves at EXACTLY this time. My son’s practice begins at exactly this TIME. I have places to be and it all happens to be at a certain time. There is no time for me. Where there used to be an abundance of time, time to play, time to relax, time to breathe…it has all been filled. It seems, at times, that every second of every day has something scheduled. And if there is something scheduled for that second, I need that second in order to PREPARE for the time when there IS something that I need to be doing.
Why is that? What happened to my time?
The saddest song I have ever known is “Cats In The Cradle.” The lyrics resonate so strongly with me and I feel as if I have literally become the man in that song. Now my time is so used up that often I don’t have a moment to watch my children grow. All this time spent on airplanes and going from here to there. And why? Well…to survive, I suppose. In order to survive, it is my responsibility to use my time to do what I can to make sure that my family has all that it needs. It’s my responsibility to make sure that MY children get the luxury of not having to worry about time. I spend my time making sure that THEIR time is what I remember MY childhood was like…fun and carefree.
I’ve had a week off from work. I’ve been home, hanging out with my children, going to their basketball games and watching my daughter be a cheerleader. I’ve been spending time with my wife, talking about everything from what our plans are for the summer to what color we want the kids’ bedrooms to be. I’ve spent some time with friends, trying to get caught up on their lives and what they are doing. I’ve taken the time to pet my dog and I’ve tried to relax and enjoy this week. But it goes by so fast though.
A wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
That is 100% true. It seems like that has been the case for me for some time now. I wish the clock would stand still for just a bit to let me make some more memories. But damn if those hands don’t just continue to turn so quickly.
Today is Saturday. It’s early morning and my wife is stil sleeping. My daughter is watching cartoons. My son is at a friends’ house for a sleepover. I hear the tv in the other room and here I sit…typing. I think this time could be used more wisely and so I’m going to go sit with my daughter and watch The Disney Channel and relax some more. Next week things will be different but for now…if I take some time just for her…maybe she’ll remember that one time when daddy was home and we sat and watched tv together. Maybe that will be a moment that stands out for her. Who knows?
Time keeps rolling, my friends. And it all goes by so fast. Enjoy it while you can. I know I’m going to try…
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you coming home dad, I don’t know when,
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then