Really soon, if you haven’t already, you’re going to have a moment when you wonder just what happened to the time. It may be with the first day of school as you see your kindergartener/sixth grader/high school freshman head off for another year. It may be when you need an extra day to get over muscle soreness from that pickup game. It may be when you realize you’ve lived in your current city longer than your hometown.
Studies have shown that, comparitively speaking, time does indeed speed up as we get older. This is called the proportional theory and basically says our length of time alive determines our sense of time’s passage. For a child that gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the same as between Olympics for the rest of us. That’s not just because of the allure of presents, but because that child hasn’t been alive for that long. It appears the only exception to this may be summer vacation, which speeds along for kids but at times – particularly the final weeks – stretches out for parents needing a quiet house mid-day.
A clearer distinction can be found between, say, a 50-year-old versus a 10-year-old. A year goes by quickly for the older person with many other years to lump it in. The very small sample of a decade for the child makes each year a pretty big deal, especially when he can’t remember the ones from infancy or toddlerhood. As one gets older and you start using phrases like “10 years ago,” “20 years ago,” and “30 years ago” more regularly, the collective passage of time gets faster and faster.
Writing to the Church in Ephesus, Paul gave a list of ways to “be imitators of God” begining in chapter 5. Further down, in verse 15, he makes a note to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time …” Our approach to dealing with a quickening of time may be to take more photos. There’s that, but we also need to be very attentive to where we are and what we’re doing.
Have you been guilty of looking forward to the weekend? Next Friday? The first weekend in September? We all have. There’s nothing wrong with anticipation, but don’t let it happen at the expense of the present. For today is the day the Lord has made …