Assuming I am an average American male, I will live for 75.6 years. This means sometime in late January or early February of 2040 (on average) I will lay down my cares and pass though the veil. By my calculation I have 10,200 days left, give or take. I’ve already lived 17,400 so I’m officially on the down side of the ride.
Humans live a pretty long life compared to other species. There are turtles that can live for close to 200 years but few others will out live us. Some birds might see their 50s. A small dog might make 20. Of course some insects live for only a single season, or even less.
I wonder how time feels to an animal with a life span of only a few years, or a season, or a few hours.
There are actions and reactions so they must perceive time in some sense, but hey obviously don’t reason about it, or do they? Does my dog perceive that he’s in middle age?
As I while away the hours tomorrow I’ll be using up a little less than 1/100 of one percent of my presumed time left. My Dog will use almost 3/100s of one percent of his time. Will his day feel 1/3 longer, or shorter than mine will?
Of course these assumptions are based on averages and there are both positive and negative outliers. My time could extend into the ‘50s or 60’s, and with medical advances perhaps even longer, although I don’t know how I’d feel about living through the seventies again.
Alternatively there is no guarantee I’ll make it through the end of the day today. Shit indeed does happen.
I know I perceive the passage of time more now than I ever have. How many times will I think of Kev in those expected ten thousand odd days, there are over 250,000 hours involved and I’d expect to be awake for at least 2/3rds of those?
Think of the passage of time as being on a boat, floating in the current down a river. As a child your river is wide and meandering. Time seems to inch along in a barley perceptible way. Each day is alive with possibilities. Think back to those long summer days of your childhood (no one wants to remember sitting in school for hours on end). They were like mini-adventures that lasted for weeks at a time, even though you were home for dinner.
As you get older your river speeds up. You rush through rapids and chasms, reacting to what’s happening in your life and meeting deadlines while trying to accomplish something. From High School through college and into the start of my career the river flowed faster and faster. There were times I’d sit back, take a deep breath and realize half a decade had slipped by.
When I married and had a family there were times when things slowed down a little bit. I’d relish those times when the children were were at certain ages I particularly enjoyed. Their wonder at the world slowed me down, reminding me of my own wide-eyed youth.
Of course as they grew the river sped up again, gaining momentum from school, sports, activities and the like. The calendar filled to the point where we had little time to reflect. Each August and April we’d gird ourselves for another season on the run, it was breathless and harried, but it was also fun, and I relish all of the memories from those times.
Then everything changed.
Losing Kevin broke something in my chronometer. I still perceive the passage of time. I can still note the landmarks passing by on shore, but I feel as if I’ve stopped moving. The shore moves on while I sit still, stuck in a moment, to steal a phrase from U-2.
Even as I take my semi-annual breath to get ready for another spring of soccer, softball, lacrosse, et cetera I still feel stalled, the world continues to flow past, but I seem to sit still upon the water.
I have no idea whether this will change, or whether it will be this way until my river finally flows into the sea. I’m not sure it matters one way or the other.
One of the new ideas in both physics and metaphysics is that time is an illusion that was invented by our minds to make sense of the chaos. The thing is change and time are woven of the same string. If there is change, there must be time, if there is time there must be change. Change is perhaps the only thing we can truly count on, so time must flow, no matter how I feel about it.