Just recently, I seem to have lost my ability to keep track of time. I was always so good at remembering things like how many years ago we visited such-and-such a place, or where we spent Christmas four years ago. But the last several years of my life have suddenly blurred into one big event. I can no longer accurately mark time.
Last week I had lunch with a good friend who inadvertently brought my lack of time tracking to my attention. Over lunch, we were talking about her daughter and we both expressed our shock that she is already in 5th grade. How the years fly! We talked about another friend who has since moved away and how vividly we remember going to see her new baby so many years ago. I realized that I have no idea how old this little boy is now. I imagine that he’s probably somewhere between 7 and 10, but I can guarantee that my friend knows exactly how old this little boy is. I have lost track of that time.
Walking home after lunch, it dawned on me that my time amnesia might have a lot to do with not having children. My friend is reminded on a daily basis of how old her children are. She marks the passing of time with birthday parties, school grades, and childhood milestones. She knows how long ago something happened, because she knows how old her kids were, or what grade they were in at the time. I don’t have that marker and so I have to try to fill in the gaps with other events, or news headlines to mark time in my memory.
Without children to mark time and propel my life forward, I can see how easy it could be to drift through the years. Children create milestones and new direction and, while I’m not in any danger of falling into a rut yet, I can see how easily my life could lose direction.
Maybe I’ve just hit by a patch of melancholy again, so does anyone else see this? Do any of you feel as if your life is drifting by?