culture & community

The Passing of Time and My Time Obsessed Self

by Amber — February 19, 2020
Woman under water with alarm clock in hand. Time obsessed or time possessed?

If you’ve ever been startled by your age, worry you’re already running out of time, or wonder if you’re a tad time obsessed, this one’s for you.

It is with heavy heart that I announce the passing of time… I turned 45 recently… this has brought some interesting feelings to the surface. I remember being excited to turn 30, and less so – but excited still – to turn 40. These are milestone birthdays and I met them head on. I wanted to celebrate and explore what lay ahead.

However, I wasn’t expecting what 45 brought.

It seemed to me that each of these beautiful round numbers brought an even better decade than the one before it and I thought my 40’s would have the same momentum. Then it started to sink in. I’m 45, likely at the centre of my life span – if I’m lucky. Already time obsessed and a bit of a control freak, this unsettled me. If I do live until 90, I’ll have 45 years ahead of me, why freak out now? But the part that really shook me up was how fast the first 45 flew by, especially the last ten and it feeling like it’s going faster the older I get.

Am I having a mid-life crisis? My heart breaks a little every day, understanding a little better the meaning behind every moment we spend with family and friends. It doesn’t last. All those far off what ifs will quickly become a reality. Looming retirement 15 to 20 years away… Have we saved enough? Will we have enough? Our parents, how will we care for our parents? That’s coming too… College, trade school, travel for our kids, it will be here in a very short time. And this ever sinking feeling that I do not have my feet planted as firmly as I believed I did. That I do not have control over my own life, there are no breaks on this train, I wonder if there’s even a steering wheel?

Many overlapping clocks hanging on a wall

Time obsessed? Perhaps, but I’m not huddled in a corner, shaking at the prospect of my old age pension racing towards me, these feelings are much sneakier. Surprising me as I make dinner, turn on the TV, or pull out of the driveway, causing a rocking motion in my stomach similar to motion sickness. It also brings new realizations about who I am and how I live my life. How the person I used to be is not the person I am now. The realization that I have a mild obsession with time and that I’m almost ready to admit that I’m a bit of a control freak…

Exploring these quasi time obsessed thoughts brought me to a podcast. Ted Radio Hour did a piece called “Shifting Time.” An exploration of how our sense of time changes depending on how we see the world. There is so much about this conversation that I find interesting, but the one take home – the piece that really spoke to me – was the mention of an app called “1 Second Everyday.” The challenge is to take a video every day and it will string together one second of that frame creating a collage of your existence in one long video. The gentleman who created it suggested that you can see a lot in one second. And that in one video spanning a year you can see a lot of change. I found this idea very interesting and it has become my newest project.

I’m still grappling with my new place on this time line and while this app will not give me the answers or the peace I’m looking for, it is an interesting start.

First video leg:

Main photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels.

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