Time is elastic, I heard once. I always believed this thought to have some merit.
Recent posts about time and how we spend it got me thinking. Is it truly about how we spend it, or how we experience it? Good times go quickly, bad times seem to move more slowly â€” that is, if you believe in good and bad times. Or is it all just time, experienced as we choose?
I have no answers, but I do have a recent observation: I should have been careful what I wished for, for now I have it. I have a job I love, a wife I love, a dog I love, and a dozen or so activities I wish I could spend more time doing. Every minute is marrow. There are no scraps anymore, and time feels as though it is whizzing by faster than I can experience it. No longer do I have the sour, which emphasizes the sweet. No longer is there a sweet anticipation of good things to come, simply because it is all good now. Is this a better quality of life?
I certainly never feel like there is an opportunity to rest and reflect; to enjoy the subtleties of my introversion. I think back to the days where I was in class, looking forward to evening activities, dinner, a bike ride. It was as though i got to savor those events, both in the mind and then the reality. Gone maybe is the savoring of the mind.
I am not saying I am unhappy, just that things were good in a very different way.
I think I understand very well what you’re considering here. I think we require struggle in our lives, and now that you’re feeling like you have things together â€” a marriage, a house, a job, a dog, and so on â€” the sense of struggle perhaps feels backgrounded. When time is going by at the speed of life, it’s sometimes that lack of reflective time that doesn’t allow for one to ponder that struggle â€” in the way that we usued to ponder why we were alone.
I know you require a lot of down time, and I hope you’re feeling you’re getting what you require in that department. It sounds like maybe you’re not. I can relate all too well. Everything takes up that time to stew. I revelled last night in the fact that I had an hour drive alone to and from Saint John’s/Saint Ben’s: I haven’t felt that in a while, that alone-ness.
I’m trying to build more of that into my schedule â€” call it meditation. It’s hard to be able to balance both â€” the sense of togetherness you want â€” with your partner, your dog, your family, friends, and a community â€” and that need for aloneness. I’m realizing that I am who I am because of that aloneness, and that I’m not who I need to be for Jen or anyone else without that aloneness. It’s difficult to achieve, especially since Jen is not someone who requires aloneness of the sort we’re after here.
I can’t say if you’re living a better quality of life now or before: only you can decide that. But for myself â€” like you, Petes, still in the state of “newlywed” â€” for myself, I have at least recognized that I was living a far better life when I was alone than I perhaps realized at the time. And that recognition makes the past more bearable and affirming, and that’s something.
As for if my life now is better than it was â€” yes. I’m trying to learn to recognize that now, because I didn’t recognize it then. But I’m also recognizing that the struggle is always there â€” but it’s a different struggle now, and probably harder. I think it is a harder choice to be with someone than to be alone. But the harder choice is so often better â€” better for being achieved through struggle.
Ad astra per aspera.
I feel strongly that it is all time. For those of us who have healthy brains, i.e. those who do not suffer from mental illness, we can choose how we experience it. I tend to separate time less in terms of good or bad but on a continuum of significance. At the times of great significance I am most introverted.
During the times of success or elation I naturally draw in and try to experience the moment as deeply as possible knowing that the good times don’t last. This concentration makes it appear to those who see me that I am troubled or that I’m not fully enjoying the moment. But it always happens, I must disconnect from the world, from the experience, to be a faithful witness to it, to have any hope of understanding it.
I do this during the bad significant times too, but then it seems more appropriate.