Opinion: Time passages

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Preparations are well under way for the impending high school graduation of our youngest. With the milestone has come the review of countless photographs, each imbued with countless memories. Somewhere along the way, he grew up. And it is good. Still, the years have marched by with such grandeur and fanfare that we barely noticed. Now, there he stands, on the brink of heading off into the world. To be entirely honest, the tempest can leave one breathless. How can he be ready to go? How can we be ready to let him?

Just as we indulged in a bit of anxiety-nurturing self-pity, the evening mail arrived and in it was an invitation, cleverly marked with the familiar banner from the newspaper printed in my very own high school decades ago. The class president and a committee of familiar names were summoning me home to recognize the accomplishment of a high school graduation occurring long before cellphones, electric cars or social media. While distracted by the advancing years of our progeny, our own anniversaries were ticking away. How could so much time have passed? There must be some mistake. 

Unique among most things in the physical world, time moves more slowly the closer one is to it. Were we to stare at our watch, it would take significant commitment to endure as the second hand swept around the face. It would be one minute, or maybe two, before we’d be unable to tolerate the monotony of its deliberate and predicted progress. Yet, we sit comfortably while the years fly by, waiting to take action. Self-improvement, work on broken or damaged family relationships and bucket lists written but never implemented loom as we imagine time to be the lumbering second hand rather than a whipping hurricane. Can it be both? Do we have time to decide? 

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