I heard a podcast recently that said the reason time goes more quickly as we age is because we have lived longer. We have a different perspective with all those years behind us compared to a five-year-old who hasn’t experienced as much. Time does seem to pass more quickly for me now-is it already August??And it can’t really be that late in the day? Can it?
I do know my birthdays seem to roll around a lot more rapidly than they used to when I was a child. Now that I’m older and I’ve experienced the fleeting nature of time, I prioritize my days differently. I recognize there will always be dust, laundry and weeds but not always the opportunity for coffee with friends or dinner with family. The same podcast said older people are happier. I wonder if it’s because they realize there’s no time to sweat the small stuff any longer.
Or maybe, older folks aren’t worried about career paths anymore. Still, as Carole King sang “We can never know about the days to come-but we think about them anyway.”
Writing about the passage of time in a natural way is one of the more difficult concepts to master in a novel. In my first novel, the action is spread over the course of a year. Detailing every day would be boring, so I only wrote scenes about important events. I used the seasons to frame the passage of time, and it made sense to me to start the novel in the fall based on what happens in the opening chapters. Santa Ana winds in the fall just seem to lead to mayhem!
My second novel mostly takes place during a six-day hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, so the passage of time was easier to manage. It was morning; it was night; it was morning again – a second day! Characters arrive on the scene fully formed, so there is also the need to provide flash-backs of the past and explain why the characters act the way they do.
In my third novel, the action happens over the course of four months. For some reason, I found writing about the passage of time in this novel more difficult. The second novel is a relationship pressure cooker due to the close quarters and strenuous nature of the climb, but in the third novel, relationships progress more slowly. Again, I didn’t want to chronicle every day, so I had to find a way to denote the passage of time and the natural relationship progression.
I’m reading a book now in which the author jumps around years. Unfortunately, I’m not able to read the book in one sitting, so I’m having a hard time keeping track even though the years are written at the top of each chapter.
Time may have sped up for me now that I’m older, but the hour I spend (sometimes) weeding my yard seems to last forever, and I think we can all agree an hour at the DMV will always feel more like three!