It was dark by 8.30pm today; the summer’s gone and next month I’ll be nudging ever closer to middle age. It’s said that time speeds up as you get older and I’m starting to grasp how true that is.
I recently visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and was struck by the realisation that World War 2 ended just 35 years before my birth. This is a time-span comprehensible to me as I have myself now been on the planet for 35 years. As a child I’d always thought of WW2 as having been in the waaaay distant past, but lately I’m wondering for the first time how atrocities on such a massive scale could have happened so recently.
And yet those fleeting intervening 35 years (1945 – 1980) were long enough to have brought massive leaps in science and technology that fundamentally changed society and provided the things we now take for granted in developed countries. Ownership of labour saving devices (washing machines and fridges) and cars became widely achievable; foreign travel was no longer restricted to the wealthy (or servicemen). The contraceptive pill gave women control over their bodies, allowing them to pursue relationships and careers of their choosing, and revolutionising their role in society. A man walked on the moon, and even the everyday routine of showering and applying anti-perspirant was a fresh idea during this time…(see what I did there…?)
And in my 35 year lifetime? In brief – the internet, access to higher education and smartphones have all allowed me to pursue a lifestyle that would have been utterly unimaginable to my mother and grandmothers at my age. (Can I include the invention of hair straighteners here too?) And thank god for our ban on smoking in public places – now a decade old – which allows me to perform with my band without risking my health.
Talking of the band…my mind was blown last weekend as I gigged at a student union and it occurred to me that this year’s freshers (age 18) were born the year I started uni. Wow!
The speed of time’s passing is overwhelming for a control freak like me. I try to cram as much as I can into every day, and yet there’s never enough time to do everything that I want to do. Time doesn’t care whether you achieve everything on your daily to-do list or your lifetime bucket-list. Time pays no heed to your procrastination needs; it just keeps shoving you along towards the next deadline.
18 years from now I’ll have lost any vestiges of youth, but with luck, I’ll still be in good physical and mental health. Maybe I’ll even have access to the latest age-defying technology (that will prevent me becoming invisible in my relationship, in my career and on stage…)
Or perhaps western civilisation will have taken another giant leap forward…towards finally accepting the inevitabilities of time?
Image credit: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/436638126350239231/