It has been said that the perception of time changes as one gains years. When you’re five years old, everything seems slow — a minute takes forever — because five years is all you have as reference for how much time has passed. As you grow older, time seems to fly faster and faster, only because your point of reference has increased. Next thing you know, five years have turned to ten; ten to seventeen; eighteen to thirty.
The speed of time has never been more poignant to me until this moment. We’re nearing the midpoint of the year. I’m also feel that I’m going through the year in fast-forward as there’s an important event I’ll be part of at the end of the year (namely, my youngest brother’s wedding). I’m also looking a few personal decisions that are very time-bound.
See, back when I was in my less-than-10 years of age, whenever grown-ups seemed in awe over “how fast [I] have grown!” or “[I was] so tiny and now [I am] yay big!”, I was puzzled. I always thought, “Dude. It’s been three months, and I still can’t reach the top of the dining table without crawling on top of a chair. I am not big!” (I also want to add that also relative to the amount of affection that older has for you, they will still keep on doing that until you’re way beyond your 20’s ♥)
In a way, I think I understand — specially now that I’m doing the same to my youngest cousin (who was born when I was 16), and to my nephew. I am currently mentally spazzing out over the fact that my nephew is going to be 13 next year, and he would have surpassed me in height by then!! And I cannot explain exactly why I’m spazzing out!! But it’s a good spazzing out, like —
running corgi puppies in my mind!
This was triggered by my getting the notification that my nephew Liked this link to a webcomic I shared via Facebook. On the surface, I’m like, “Cool, my nephew likes something I like!” — THEN it hit me like a ton of bricks: we can now appreciate something together, and he’s at the age where we can even discuss things tackled by that web comic together!
(In the case you’re reading this, Teo, hi. 😀 This is your dorky ninang who is mentally screeching over how fast you’ve grown. Don’t ask. You’ll know the feeling once Santi’s older.)
More than my nephew’s size (which I gauged over my ability to carry him), one thing that struck me over his growth is his ability to voice out his observations and argue using sound logic… along with a hint of sarcasm and sass (I’m proud of his ability for the latter, by the way). Yet, he is still full of that affection and love that makes my heart sing in gratitude and praises every time I’m around him.
And yet, I feel that I’ve missed something. In the strictest sense, he is not my son; but he is the closest one to a son that I have right now. Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and it certainly didn’t for me. Much as I wish I could have been around him more often, what happened has happened, and I can’t take them back.
On the other hand, there’s my Mom. In the past 16 years (and counting), we have only seen each other five times. A lot has happened and changed in 16 years, and I’ve reflected on those years last week. Neither of us can press Rewind and do things over.
I’m not writing about a loss per se, but I write about this fear of loss. How I feel about it is that, I cannot forgive myself if I knew that there was something I could have done, but did not do it. I want my Mom back and I will do all that I can to make that happen. I want to be there for my nephew as much as my health will allow.
I learn this now, in my older years: time will not pause for us, and there is no rewinding; there is no such thing as “quality time” — there is just time, and it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. If anything, there is one thing that people can universally agree upon: spending time with the people you love is time well spent.
… well, it probably won’t help the element of surprise and the feeling of an army of corgi puppies running all over you when you suddenly see a kid you love sprout into an adult, but it might as well help with getting rid of the feelings of regret down the line.