Hardly anyone disputes the belief that time seems to speed up as we grow old. If I recall correctly (not an automatic assumption), it starts around age 40. “I went to work Monday morning,” we might say, “and next thing I knew it was Friday.”
Anyone to whom this has happened more than once has a theory about the reason for it but that's not what I'm here to talk about today because a new twist on time's swift passage has turned up in my life.
Think of the new one as the micro compared to the original macro.
Until now, my complaints about time's speed were confined to the long-ish term as in the first paragraph above. Then, recently, I laid out the little boxes into which I count out medications for the coming week.
I have two of them – morning and evening - and I've been doing this for going on three years. I could do it in my sleep. It takes about five minutes and I'm set for the week.
Before I go any further, let me note that I hate this chore. I understand that is an over-the-top response to such a minor task but it is nevertheless true and may or may not relate to the the time issue.
As usual, two or three weeks ago, I didn't get around to counting out pills until nearly dinner time on Saturday. I was timing something on the stove but I knew this dumb little pill task takes no more than five minutes so I could do both at once.
I checked the clock as I started counting. When I finished, I looked at the clock again and 15 minutes had passed. 15 MINUTES??? Did I black out for ten minutes? If so, why was I still standing?
A few days later, it happened again. The walk to the mailbox and back takes about three or four minutes. This time, 20 or 25 minutes went by before I was home again. I know this because I was 10 minutes late for a phone visit with a friend.
Did I stop to chat with a neighbor? Did I wander over to the adjacent park? I had no memory of doing either. Where did the time go?
These small time slippages are turning up in my life more frequently. I'm not worried about incipient dementia or even plain old forgetfulness but I am trying to explain it to myself.
With the pill counting, did I get distracted and stop counting while I thought over something I had read? That's probably not out of the question although I don't remember what it was I might have been thinking. Or, could it have always taken 15 minutes and I thought it was only five?
Maybe the same thing happened on my walk to the mailbox. I do purposefully walk more slowly now to accommodate my COPD. I'd rather things take longer than to go too quickly and be left heaving for breath.
Or could it be...
It's a mystery to me and it doesn't seem fair, does it. I mean, already whole days speed by when we're old, even whole weeks. Now I have to fold missing minutes into my shrinking day?
Does any of this ring a bell for you?