“Mr. France, did you know that time actually goes faster as you get older?”
Clearly, this child hadn’t gotten the memo that his teacher was in the midst of a existential crisis. Regardless, I entertained the thought and was once again humbled by the capacity of a child’s mind.
“No,” I replied, “I didn’t know that. Tell me more.”
He continued, very dubiously referring to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and as he spoke, the complexity of this theory crumbled into simplicity. As time progresses, and as we age, time begins to warp, kind of like a shiny hologram. It feels faster–and not just because we’re getting older–but because one year, in relation to the duration of our whole lives, gets smaller and smaller each year we are alive.
Take, for instance, one year at the prime age of ten. That one year feels like an eternity, and why? Because it comprises an entire ten percent of that child’s life. But one year at 25 feels like much less. In fact, at 25, one year has only amassed four percent of that twenty-something’s life at that point, and because of that, it passes in what feels like the snap of a finger, and eventually… the blink of an eye.
And I’ll be honest. This twenty-something is really starting to feel it.
I remember feeling this way, too, when I was younger. As a kid, I remember being absolutely caught up in change–change of seasons, change of months, change of years. I found the idea that we could so suddenly and so abruptly transition from one phase to the next, with the mere passing of a moment, absolutely fascinating. One second it was fall, and then all of a sudden, it became spring; when I’d go to bed, it would be February, but when I’d wake, it would be March.
The most puzzling part of it all, though, is that the line between two of these seemingly discernible phases is actually invisible. It’s so fine and so thin that we can’t actually see it. It passes in a mere instant, and when we’re on the other side of it, the previous side becomes but a memory, so visceral that it can almost be touched, but so invisible that it evades our grasp when we actually try to reach out and touch it.
And I felt that today as I left Chicago.
I got here a mere week ago, and my flight could not have seemed longer when arriving. I felt as though we dragged through the air, the winds pushing instead of pulling me home. But when I got there, I felt like I had the world at my feet. A week of seeing my family, my friends, my love. And today, as I drove to the airport, I felt us inch along in the fastest bumper to bumper traffic of which I’d ever been a part. My heart raced and I saw that infamous line approach–the line between future and past, the line between memory and present reality.
And now, as I sit on a plane, headed back to my home in San Francisco, I look back on the week fondly, while still feeling the memories so palpably bubbling in my mind.
I attempt to reach out to touch them, but they slowly and mockingly evade my grasp.