Time moves forwards relentlessly, regardless of whether we want it to or not. And, typically, time is also something of a rebel. I think it senses what we want and does the exact opposite, just because it can. Quite mean, really.
The phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” is, in my opinion, true. Because Time the Trickster knows we’d rather enjoy ourselves for longer, and so speeds up. And similarly, when we’re clock watching, urging time on faster, it predictably slows down.
For me, time slows to a snail’s pace in the couple of hours leading up to my husband finishing work. I gear myself up for the day planning towards that time, and yet it seems to take forever to arrive! Distracting myself helps somewhat, but without fail I look at the clock after what feels like a long time and see that hardly any time has passed.
It’s also interesting to me that people say things along the lines of “enjoy the time with your children while they’re young, because before you know it they’ll be grown up”. I mean, I guess it’s true that there are times when I look at my little girl and marvel that she’ll start school in September; where has the time gone? But the day to day running of life doesn’t feel like it’s speeding by at all. Sometimes I wish it would!
I think all of this is a simple case of the tragic human assertion: “the grass is always greener on the other side”. I think humanity, generally speaking, is rarely happy exactly where we are. We’re always aspiring to something more, or else merely wallowing in our perceived misfortune.
Growing up I was taught to be grateful for what I have because there’s always someone worse off than I am. And I think that even though that notion is not particularly sympathetic to the needs of others, maybe it’s even a little selfish, I understand that the aim behind it is to teach children gratitude and contentment, and that material possessions do not necessarily ensure happiness.
Suffering with depression means that I often see the world around me as bleak and colourless. But in my rational moments I know that I actually have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve found that listing things I’m thankful for helps a great deal to take my mind off myself, which in turn helps with depression because it is primarily a selfish illness. It causes us to be tunnel-visioned, seeing only the negatives of our existence. It plagues us with feelings of injustice and unfairness. It makes us feel misunderstood and mistreated.
And because I suffer with it myself, I’m not trying to sound judgmental. I know how hard it is. I know it clouds everything. But I also know that there is beauty out there. It’s just hard to see sometimes.
When tempted to say to myself “the grass is greener somewhere else”, instead I’ll try to say “look around you, it’s pretty green where you’re standing.”