All of a sudden it’s July and in a week it will be 5 months since lockdown began.
I’ve often heard that time seems to speed up the older one gets. I don’t think it has anything to do with the vagaries of the space-time continuum, or some sort of mystical notion. Rather, it’s a matter of proportion and experience; the more days we have behind us, the greater and longer our point of reference, which in turn informs us in our experience of the present. A year is an eternity for a child who has only experienced six others; it’s comparatively short for someone who has lived 40.
“How did it get so late so soon?”Dr. Seuss
But these Covid times have somehow altered my perception of time, and there’s an unsettling unevenness in the way in which I experience a day, or a week. On one hand, there are many days that feel endless, purposeless, the hours dragging. On the other hand it feels like weeks have slipped by in the blink of an eye. And for many weeks I’ve been wondering if I’m an outlier in my perception of time both expanding and contracting.
Feeling that time is constantly warping around me is disconcerting, to say the least. I find myself having a difficult time remembering if a conversation occurred yesterday, or a few weeks ago – the insistent sameness of my days blurs the boundaries. And I’ve caught myself on many an occasion glancing at my watch and being surprised that so much/so little time has passed, defying my perception of it.
I’ve experienced a fluid awareness of time during meditation, and in my deepest sits I lose the sensation of it entirely, so that the sounding of the bell brings me not only back to my environment but also to the passage of minutes. This kind of fluidity can feel wonderful – as if I’m suspended in stillness and gently dropped back on a calm current of seconds, minutes, hours, as if nothing has been disturbed.
But in these months I’ve also been acutely aware of the sense of losing time, of time being disturbed. I feel the loss of time when I would have been conducting, making music. Time with friends, time with colleagues. Time in the many marvelous cities I frequent. Time when I would have been working, generating income.
And then I have to remind myself of the preciousness of this finite resource. In the aggregate of all the time of the world, our lives don’t even occupy the fraction of a blink of an eye. Time is fleeting. And there isn’t really enough time to be spending time mourning the loss of time.
So I’ve been trying, in my own way, to be more aware of the progression of minutes and seconds and weeks, to be present in them. To not waste my moments now contemplating a moment that didn’t happen. To accept the passage of time, in its ow time.