Time is a Funny Thing

Source of photo: The Healthy

I remember penny candy. I remember when you could buy a chocolate bar, a pop (*) and a bag of chips for 25 cents. I remember when a postage stamp cost 8 cents. I remember listening to music on records – 45s and LPs, to be exact. Cell phones were the stuff of science fiction but you could find a telephone booth on every corner and a phone call cost a dime. I recall how scandalised everyone was when the cost of making a call in a phone booth went up to 25 cents. I remember when computers were as big as a room and almost no one had ever laid eyes on a real one, except for a handful of scientists with obscure titles. When I was in university back in the early 80s, I only called home (collect, of course) on Sunday evenings, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. because that was the only time of the week when the cost of a call was affordable.

I wrote so many letters during those years: to my parents, to my sister, to my cousins, to my grandparents and to friends who had gone to different universities. Until very recently, I still had boxes of responses to my old letters. I marvelled, when I went through them, at the hours and hours I must have spent, just writing. I recalled the big callous I used to have on my middle finger from writing all those letters – not to mention essays and various other reports – by hand. It’s hard to believe just how much time we had on our hands back then: T.V. was limited to two or three channels; we had no devices, no Internet, no YouTube, no Pinterest or Spotify. The hours upon hours that folks (including myself) now spend on their devices per day, were wide open.

It’s funny how every twenty-year old thinks they will never (!!!) be as old as their parents: there is nothing quite as smug as the young adult ready to start their lives, self-righteously thinking they will do everything better than their parents did.

And then suddenly, there you are, staring in the mirror at your grey hair and your wrinkles, and what seemed like the Dark Ages to you as a child (say, the year your parents were born) is what your birth year is going to be to the child born just last year.

I was eight months old during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The first significant world event I remember was the lunar landing: I was 7 years old. When I was born, ‘60 years ago’ was 1902: an unthinkably long time ago; the ‘olden days’; distant history. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that 1962 is as much a part of a one-year-old’s distant history as 1902 was for me.

The first significant world event my Grammy remembered was the sinking of the Titanic. I was more than a little in awe the first time I realised she was that old.

The first significant world event my children remember is 9/11. And one day, little children will look at my children in awe as they speak of all they remember of that unspeakable day.

Oh, dear 20-year-old: take it from me: life is short. Before you have time to catch your breath, a youngster will be looking back sixty years before they were born; at the year you were born; and they will marvel at the living, breathing relic standing before them.

One day, everything we know right now will have been reduced to a chapter or two in a school history book. All the i’s will have been dotted; all the t’s will have been crossed. All the links will have been made; all the outcomes will have been determined. One day, historians will either shudder in horror at the atrocities our generation committed or they will smile condescendingly at the tempests in a teapot we made such a fuss over.

Likely, they will do both.

Time is an illusion: we only really have now. I know I sound like a walking cliché, but try to worry less. Look up more. Smile at a stranger. Be kind to your Mom/ Dad/ brother/ sister/ friend. Be kind to a perfect stranger. Strike up a conversation with your grandmother or grandfather. Plant something and chart its progress.

And breathe…

It all goes by so fast.

(*) that’s a soda, if you are an American

Patti Moore Wilson/© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com




Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

20 thoughts on “Time is a Funny Thing”

  1. So well said, Patti 🙂 I remember those early days, too, when I wrote handwritten letters to relatives and friends who had migrated to England, the USA, and Canada. I looked at the middle finger of my right hand: The big callous I once had has long gone. I tell parents with young children to treasure these years for, as you say, it all goes by so fast. Enjoy your weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing!.. I too have many memories, stored in my heart for when I get too old to dream, that I share from time to time… but I do not look back too often for there is too much in front of me to see and I need to gather more memories and learn more about the universe.. “ I am currently attending the School of Life, learning more about the universe and me… and Graduation Day will be the day of my funeral and it is then I will know if I failed or I succeeded and graduated”… (Larry “Dutch” Woller)… 🙂

    Hope you are enjoying life making more memories and until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Patti. Oh, can I recall all of the advice I got from my grandparents to enjoy each and every moment, do everything I wanted to do in life early on, cherish each day as a young man as a gift, etc. But being young and having no true life experience, I considered myself quite immortal with no time clock. And then…in time…I finally realized how very right they were. There is a time clock, of unknown expiration, and we really only have now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They stopped teaching cursive while my kids were midway through elementary school 😕 I actually went to the school to try to gently ‘talk them out of it’ but alas, I discovered it was a pretty widespread decision at that point. I tried to teach the kids myself but they were truly not interested. Breaks my heart when I have to translate letters from their Nanny (my Mom) 😕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I was keeping journals in cursive for my grandchildren about their early years that they would not remember but I realized they would never try reading handwriting. So I converted to logging memories on the computer.

        Liked by 1 person

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