Time is strange, isn’t it? When we watch the second hand on an analog clock, we think time is regimented, neatly segmented, that one second is the same length as another second. The first minute of each hour lasts as long as the last minute of the hour.
We talk about time as if it’s a commodity – we can use it, waste it, spend it. It’s something that can speed by, or drag, or simply pass. For some, time is money. For others, it’s life. Was there ever a beginning to time, will there ever be an end? We think we know what it is – that it is something we can comprehend. But is it?
And we each have our own perceptions of time. Days either drag or speed by depending on how you spend your time.
And so we’ve made it to May.
March dragged by … each day feeling like a week. What day is it, was a familiar refrain, so much so that a weatherman in the US started telling his viewers what day it was each day – in much the same way they do on Playschool. [Please note: I do not endorse Fox anything, unless they’re on my sister’s PJs and slippers]
Then April came and went, seemingly, for me at least, in the blink of an eye.
Where did that go? Ben’s birthday on the 10th, Easter, extra leave afterwards, four days at work, then annual leave, Byron’s 1st birthday and Tim’s on the same day. A photography challenge and creating a magazine from it, plus creating magazine of my Bus Stops of Victoria and Tasmania and Country Shops of the same (I promise you, they’re more interesting than the titles make them out to be), exercise, exercise and more exercise.
Connections and creativity.
Mental and physical health.
What a month.
And now, May. Ronan, my third grandchild, announced this morning that it’s only 27 more days until he’s a teenager. He sounds like one already – the deep voice grunting monosyllables as he lies on the couch (after doing a tough workout, I might add). He’s almost as tall as me now, probably will be by the time I get to see him again.
Time distorts. Slows down, almost to a crawl. It’s possible I wouldn’t have seen my grandchildren during this time in a world without ‘rona (although Easter, so you never know) but knowing I can’t see them yet and not knowing when I’ll see them again, seems to elongate time.
It’s the same when you’re waiting for your examiners’ reports after submitting your PhD. The clock ticks off each second in its usual way, but each second seems that little bit longer than the one before, especially when you know the reports are back and your supervisors have seen them but aren’t allowed to tell you the outcome. Each second grinds by, especially when you focus on that one thing you want more than anything.
The email from the Graduate Research Office with the outcome.
This is the situation for one of my PhD candidates this week. The weekend will be unbearable for her and each day next week that she has to wait will feel like a month.
And then it’ll be over. The email will arrive, the restrictions on our movement will end, and time will resume its regularity.
It feels long in the ‘during’ … in the living of it. Time is drawn out during the waiting, during the uncertainty, when we aren’t sure of the outcome, when we aren’t sure what the world will look like on the other side.
But then things will resume, perhaps differently resume, but the seconds will continue to tick by as they always have. Will we go back to our old regular routines or have we learnt something from this time of enforced isolation? Will we continue any of the new routines we’ve established?
All the new routines I’ve established are about creativity and connection. Why would I drop them once this is over?
It’s a question worth musing on.
I wonder if Louis Theroux will continue doing duck walks when this is over? (We did them this morning and while the kids didn’t seem to mind them, the older adults in the group were mostly non-plussed).
Our alphabet of isolation wrapped up to wild enthusiasm on Sunday night. I’m adding one image per day to my Instragram account – I’m wondering what will end first … my alphabet images or the restrictions we’re currently living with.
I’m hoping my images will be a good reminder of this time, as, over time, I’m sure I’ll forget some of the details. Like toilet paper shortages. The supermarkets have now lifted restrictions on how much you can buy, but remember at the beginning of this outbreak how people were fighting over it?
What was that about?
And this will be a reminder too.
Stay safe and have a great week. I’ll leave you with this image of a flower I took a number of years ago. It’s colourful and unlike the flower itself, this image hasn’t seen the ravages of time.