Time after Time

Posted in #AgeWell

Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center

Marathon

It seems that nearly all conversations these days at some point circle to discussing Time. How slowly the days pass, how fast the weeks fly by, whether we’ve got too much time on our hands or find we can’t even find a minute to return a text message greeting.

The constraints of the pandemic affect each of us differently. Do you live alone, or with family? Are you used to going out, or are you a homebody? How connected are you through computer/smart phone/TV? Are you working or did you lose your job or were you retired before this began? What is your preferred recreation, and has it been stopped by the pandemic or not?

The common point in this shared experience is that virtually all of us have had our daily lives disrupted. We’ve seen our daily routines go out the window, no matter how hard we’ve tried to maintain a semblance of what we once considered “normal.” It is hard to plan tomorrow when we haven’t even figured out what is happening today. For so many of us, our routines (eat, sleep, work, recreation, whatever) keep us on a familiar timetable.

This strangely elastic ability of time to expand and contract continues to fascinate and perplex me. I look back to the delightfully naïve time at the beginning of March, when I gave advice in one of my first blogs as to how to get through a month of lockdowns without going crazy. How quaint! That first month felt like it would never end, and here it is the second week of August already. What happened to the last four months? Even yesterday is a blur.

Early on, one of my Senior Games friends said he viewed the lockdown as a blessing in disguise. He called it a much-needed opportunity to slow down, pause, reflect, and take stock of our lives without a schedule over-crammed with activity.

But has that happened? Have we paused to reflect? Or perhaps our lives are busier than ever as we find ways to meet our daily physical and emotional needs in a world that feels turned upside down. Easy communication with co-workers down the hall now takes three times longer, with texts, emails, and zoom appointments. In-person visits with friends that used to be spontaneous now need to be carefully choreographed for social distancing and protocols. And so on, for all that we do (or did).

There isn’t any one answer to these challenges, and there may not be any real answer at all. Time is going to continue to baffle us. Weeks will seem to just evaporate – poof – and yet the minutes may drag and drag and drag and we wonder why we’re not being more productive. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to embrace this weird never-never-land. That along with the stress, fear, and anxiety that I can’t banish, there is room for wonder at it all. And for laughter and kindness and reflection – and even a little bit of planning for a non-pandemic future.