Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Out with the Old; In with the New 

In the past few weeks an inordinate number of people have expressed to me that they cannot wait for 2003 to be over and done with. It doesn't seem as though anybody was really fond of 2003 very much. And while I can't say that I blame them (after all, everybody has the right to judge their own year), I also can't say that I necessarily agree with them.

Personally, I don't want time to pass any more rapidly than it already is. And by saying things like "I can't wait for 2003 to be over with," you are literally wishing time to go by even faster. This makes no sense to me. Personally, I would like time to slow the hell down. With each passing year it seems as though the hours in a day fly by at an even more rapid pace, and I don't like it one bit.

When I was a kid, a weekend would stretch ahead of me like a long winding road, full of possibilities and promise. I might meander through the woods and along the stream in the park across the street, ride my bicycle in hundreds of figure 8's in the driveway, or climb into the willow tree in the backyard with a hot dog and a good book. I might go next door to visit my neighbor Pop-Pop who would create beautiful oil paintings of horses while I watched, or meet friends at the corner bank and roll down the steep grassy hill, or design, draw, color, and cut out clothing for my paper dolls. I might walk around the corner to my grandparents' house and play on the tire swing, or play cards with my Grandpa John, or root around in my Grandma Anna's sewing scraps box to see what I could make.

Back then I had what in today's world would be considered an unheard of amount of free, unstructured time. No parentally-planned play dates; no gymnastics/ballet/karate classes; no soccer/softball/basketball practices. For the most part I had no place I had to be, other than home on time for dinner. And I was rarely -- if ever -- bored.

Those were the days!

Nowadays a weekend rushes by in a blink of an eye, with lots of things crossed off the ubiquitous "to do" list, yet typically nothing memorable or worthwhile accomplished. Sometimes it feels as though I am just treading water.

If I had one wish for the New Year it would be that I would somehow figure out why this time compression happens and what I can do about it. Is it just the ageing process and there is nothing that can be done? Is it something to do with my fierce dependence on technology? If I became a luddite and (GASP!) disposed of my TVs and computers and cell phone, and read more books and took more walks, would time itself slow down? Or would the world continue in its mad swirl while I simply sank to the bottom?

Here's to a happy and healthy new year -- with time to spare.
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