The Evolving Concept Of Time As We Age
November is my favorite month in California because the sunsets are the some of the best of the year due to the angle of the sun in the sky, the dusty desert Santa Ana winds, and the days are getting shorter reminding us that Winter Is Coming. Watching the sunset is a beautiful way to reflect on the day and life.
Earlier this month, I completed another journey around the Sun and began my next solar revolution. Like any memorable road trip covering vast distances, traveling 93 million miles around the Sun in a year provides plenty of space for a person to reflect on the concept of time and aging.
In November of last year, I took a trip to Las Vegas for Amazon’s AWS re:Invent conference (relational platform?). Instead of flying for an hour or driving 5 hours from San Diego, I decided to pack up the car with my dog and camping gear to drive the long way to Las Vegas via Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Driving through the American Southwest is a road trip like no other due to the vastness of space experienced during the day and night. The landscape of the Southwest during the day is on such a massive scale that places like the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley look like you are viewing a large painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At night in November, the desert is cold and windy which necessitates the need for a campfire to stay warm under the stars. I quickly forgot about the cold when looking up and experience the awe and wonder of the universe under a new moon. It is no wonder that native peoples around the world have looked up to the stars to contemplate their place in the universe.
Generations of Americans have traveled from both coasts to experience the expansive Southwest because it is a perfect setting for a person to contemplate the more profound things of life. The Southwest gave me the space to ponder the concept of time relative to the human aging process.
Time is but a fleeting moment, and we never seem to have enough of it. When the universe is infinite and eternal, then time seems to become less important because it is merely a reference point for a number that we use to label a specific moment. Living in the now with an eye to the future can help bring us peace because we become more conscious of our actions in every moment.
What does aging look like when you know that time is just a label?
Two of my favorite expressions about time and aging that I have used for years are:
Age is just a number.
My birthday is just another day because I’m timeless.
I always say these statements with a smile on my face because I am humorously trying to fight the aging process which is an impossibility. Aging is a naturally occurring process that will happen over time whether you like it or not. We cannot avoid it, but we can embrace it.
Today, I am a year older but feel the healthiest mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually that I’ve ever been in my life. Aging is not something to be fearful when we live in the now with an eye to the future. Aging becomes scary when we lose our child-like enthusiasm and excitement for life, learning, and growth.
The desert days are getting darker and colder, but you can still get outside and renew your enthusiasm and excitement for life. All that is required is that you make the time available for reflection and contemplation.