What did you do this past month (May) at work?
That sounds like an innocuous question, doesn't it? It isn't, trust me.
I was asked that question yesterday while out and about for my job. I was stopped to have this conversation while on my way to work.
The single, young person then went on to talk about how hectic their life is: Telling me all about their exploits while looking for work, juggling at least one relationship (if I understood the conversation right anyway) and making the rounds on the social scene that is the Twenty-something generation's idea of fun.
I never found going out to get rip-roaring drunk an appetizing idea of fun even when I was 21, let alone now at 51.
It was hard to swallow the bile rising up in my throat while putting on a smile (I was taught if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all.) and silently nod in a way that looked like I cared.
Honestly, I sort of felt sorry for the person.
I couldn't help but think "so much wasted time."
Understand, I'm closer to the end than at the beginning now. Time has a greater importance to me now than ever before.
There's a controversial idea floating around the world of psychology. Some psychologists assert that time seems to go faster when people age. The theory argues that young people, having more excitatory neurotransmitters, are able to cope with faster external events than older adults.
While qualified literature on this age-related perception of time remains contentious, I'm inclined to believe the theory.
Not because of the idea that a young person's brain is better - they are younger, that goes without explanation - but because emotionally a young person is living in the now and not looking to the future.
An older adult's sense of time isn't impaired by age, it's because we know there is an end to the performance of life.
Time is measured by an individual's own perception how the events of their life unfold around them.
In my opinion: If you care about what is happening around you, you start to slow down and look around, pay attention.
Young people so often focus on what is only important to them, so why stop and look around?
After a few minutes of a one-sided conversation, the young person asked, "Are you OK? You're very quiet."
It only took a second before my mouth opened and out spilled the following:
"I just finished watching my grandson before leaving the house. I was thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight and did I let the dog outside before I left. Then there's these four stories I have to write, edit and fix the pictures I have to get ready for the paper for tomorrow and arrange two interviews for tomorrow. Not to mention I have to help set and edit the paper for tomorrow. I've also got to pick up cereal and milk at the grocery store, put gas in my car and go by the bank to get money out so I can pay my bills. After work I have to clean the bathroom and sweep the hallway before I go to bed."
The young person who couldn't even handle trying to go on one interview a day to find a job stared at me in silence.
"That's my day, in various forms of course, but that's my everyday."
I walked away with a devilishly awful smile on my face.
Guess I has time for that . . . isn't life grand?