Opinion: In the moment


Commentary by Terry Anker

We humans like to count things – especially temporal things. At the end of the day, we reflect on the day and prepare for the day ahead. The clock strikes on the hour to signify the same – beginning and end. Tick, tock. As the hours advance, we count them all. They become days, then weeks and then months. 

And with the waning days of December, our collective thoughts turn to the year rapidly closing. What did it bring? What did we find in it? Perhaps more importantly, what did we make of it? Reflection is a good thing. It can fortify and educate us. But it can also trap us in a loop of angst about the fleeting nature of our lives. Moments fade and opportunities close. 

Yet, with each end there also is a bright promise of a new year. Certainly, our prospects expire with each instant. We know that our days on earth are numbered, and with every twilight we are a bit further down our own path. Still, we so rarely notice the passage in the instant. Why do we busy ourselves with the mundane and then, as we are reminded of the calendar, find that our lives are moving faster than we can process? Would we benefit if we could see time as it travels and not only in the aggregate?

Or, would our contemplation of every instant prevent our enjoyment of them, much like the amateur photographer who is so caught up in photographing life as it occurs that he/she ends up missing much of the life that is happening? What is the balance between recognizing the passage of time and still not being held captive by it? How do we find peace in a long life while working to savor every moment?