Remember when you were little, how time stretched away over the horizon, how school holidays seemed infinite and school itself, especially over the Christmas break (I am talking Southern Hemisphere, here) dwindled to mere nothingness? It’s strange, how subjective one’s sense of time is, how tied to events and phases, to moods and emotions, to hopes, fears and the suitcase-full of human experience.
Yesterday, almost in passing, Rob and I realised it was just about six weeks till her departure for Toronto and a two-week visit back home. Six weeks! When it was three months to go, a while back, it might as well have been next year – three months? That’s miles away! But six weeks – now that seems pretty close, and from now on, like an elastic band springing back on itself, the time will get rapidly shorter, and the days will fly past faster and faster.
Yet even three months, in other contexts, is nothing – in business planning, in strategy, even in planning for something like a wedding, three months is a short time horizon – six months is often what you need for operational planning of bigger events, a year or more is a normal part of one’s mental frame, even as one tries, in outline at least, to peer further, two, three, five years further down the track.
What did I want the next thirty years – the remaining years – of my life to be, I asked myself, five years ago, when I decided the time had come to make some really hard, difficult, painful choices: how would the next five years, even, change and constrain me, if I didn’t act then, at that particular point? Pain now, or irretrievable loss, time forever forfeited, later?
I chose pain over delay, the future over the past, even though, at times, I thought it would kill me.
Five years later, in the profound subjectivity of time, I look ahead six weeks to Rob’s departure and find myself thinking, in another six months, I too will be taking off for Toronto, and the next phase of my life. So time passes, and the future steals up upon us.