How often do you think about the passing of time?
I’ve had years where the Christmas celebrations seemed mere months apart instead of a full year, and I’ve endured other periods where each month was elongated, passing by at an excruciatingly slow pace. Time is fickle. Despite each minute being qualitatively the same whether you’re 6 or 26, time moves differently for all of us, depending on age, experience, or things in our lives that make it impossible to ignore its passing.
Before I became pregnant with Hugh, I used gardening as my time yardstick.
In the fall, I plan next year’s garden and tuck this year’s away. In the early winter, the garden sits alone as my attention turns towards indoor activities, like baking and house projects. In the late winter, I eagerly open up my seed starting calendars and start the first seeds for the spring garden.
When Hugh and I are strolling about town, me hoisting his increasingly heavy frame in a front facing carrier, we’re frequently greeted by those we walk past. It’s rare to go on a walk and not experience waves, smiles, and greetings of “what a happy baby!”, “he’s so alert”, and “look at his bright eyes”. Hugh loves the attention and, as his mother, I get a burst of energy each time a stranger greets Hugh with a compliment. It’s caffeine for me and stimulation for him. Hugh frequently presents as the happiest baby when he’s in these situations, because as I’ve written before, he loves walks and he loves being outside. (Although since he learned to crawl about a month ago, our walks are now shorter to allow him ample time to move around.) I always leave these interactions with a jolt of positivity, but also with a feeling I can’t quite name.
Americans like to talk about how hard we work. It’s a common fact that Americans take less vacation time than other nations, work longer hours, and reap fewer benefits. Many “white collar” jobs come with the expectation that one will work outside of office hours and will feel guilty when taking a sick day or vacation day. The concept of relaxation, if any is done at all, will happen with other coworkers through the drowning of exhaustion and irritation in drinks and fried food. Leaving work early is frowned upon, often despite stated company policy.