Time Is A Funny Thing


Annie Muller   // Tales From the Trenches

3 Comments

January 17  

The other day I was working out. The perfectly sculpted, thirty-something instructor on the video in front of me cheerfully shouts at me that I can do it! I have been working strenuously for twenty-six minutes, but there is one more challenge ahead. It’s only one hundred seconds! she says. You can do anything for a hundred seconds! Turns out she was wrong. I did the jump lunges combined with burpees for exactly eighty-two seconds, and then I collapsed and was pretty sure I might throw up.

Luckily, I actually love this feeling, and my workout is often the highlight of my day, but it got me thinking about time. One hundred seconds really is but a breath, unless we’re doing burpees. Nine months doesn’t sound that long, unless we’re growing a human person and can’t sleep, or eat, or stop throwing up. Paradoxically, one year may sound like a long time, unless we’re watching a baby grow from helpless infant, to babbling baby, to cruising or walking and wiggling out of our arms, in which case we always find ourselves thinking, How is he a year old?! And then time feels like a thief when the daughter whose hair you used to brush in the bathtub, is suddenly starting a home and family of her own, or the sweet baby boy who only wanted you to hold him, suddenly wiggles out of every hug and just wants you to give him a high five.

There is nothing quite like motherhood that makes us feel like we are living in slow motion and warp speed simultaneously. We offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, and time slows down. We wait in gleeful expectation for that sacrifice to yield a perfect human soul. When the baby arrives, suddenly our whole relationship to time changes and is defined by when the baby last ate, or pooped, or slept, or didn’t sleep. Before we know it, we are begging time to slow down because, now that the fog is lifting, we mourn a little—that the baby is disappearing and turning into a real little person who can say “No” and run away. As our children grow, we gain some new physical freedoms, but we spend most of our time carpooling and managing their schedules, to say nothing of the time spent worrying about who their friends are and what their future holds.

Regardless of the season we are in, the slow motion phase, or warp speed, or some strange disorientating amalgamation of both, we hope we can stop long enough to breathe it all in, to be present in the moments that matter most, and to hold on for the ride. Sometimes we will wonder where the time went, at other times we may collapse on the floor trying not to throw up, but through all of it, we know that this time is precious, and in the end, we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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