Friday, July 31, 2009

Time flies

We measure time in seconds and minutes, hours and days, weeks and months, years and decades. Sometimes seconds drag. Sometimes days and weeks fly by.

I see patients with chronic conditions, so my relationships with them are typically measured in chunks of three to six months. It’s often a surprise to me to see a certain name on my patient list – is there a problem? Why is she back so soon? Then I check the chart – there’s nothing wrong, just a routine six month evaluation. Where has the time gone?

In my home life, too, I frequently feel like I’ve been in autopilot mode: Get up. Make lunches. Go to work. Get the laundry done. Then, like a submarine which has been submerged for too long, I have a hard time adjusting to my surroundings when I finally surface. How did Eldest get so tall? When did Youngest grow those shoulders? Is that a mustache? Two mustaches?

If I were a stay-at-home mom, would I see these changes while they were occurring? Or does every mother experience the sudden realization that her children have been quietly, efficiently, growing up? Perhaps the daily changes are so gradual that we can’t see them. Like the movement of the hour hand on the last analogue clock in the house, after a certain amount of time has passed the change becomes obvious to even the most casual observer.

I want to stop time. No, I want to be more aware of time. Any ideas how to make this happen?



  1. As a stay at home mom .... I can tell you ...the moustache's appear out of no where ..and the baby of the family becomes 6'2'' when no one is looking!

  2. Write more. Really. Writing frequently causes me to stop and reflect, to observe, and to remember this very moment. It seems as if writing would take you away more, but I've found just the opposite.

    I guess it is not necessarily writing but reflecting. And writing certainly encourages it. If not writing, then building in moments in your day to reflect and to be present in the moment fully.

    I am a BIG fan of reflection.

  3. I stayed home for my son's first year and it flew by. I was thankful that I took that time, though, so that when I went back to school/work, I'd remember that even while being home the time flew...I know that if I hadn't had that time in the beginning that I'd blame the preoccupation of work. But, that's not it. It's just the fleeting nature of childhood, I believe.

  4. Writing works for me too. Helps me reflect on all the little changes over time. And it is fast. Too fast.

    The other thing that works is taking some time off and just taking time with your kids. Not that it is possible for many of us. Its my dream though. Maybe an extended vacation.

  5. I agree with other commenters that time flys by no matter what. The hardest thing is to live consciously, in the moment. Even when you do...they grow up and change.

  6. As a stay-at-home-mom who works (writes) when the kids sleep, I can tell you from firsthand experience that there is still NEVER enough time with them! They DO grow so quickly, and when we're with them everyday, we don't see it either. I go with the flow, then I step away just far enough to see that, oh my heavens, they're still growing. And I bang on my watch in hopes that time will stop, if only for a moment or two.


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