I want to tell you about a conversation I had with my daughter two nights ago.
I’d just picked her up from dance and we were exiting the Chick-fil-A drive-through. As she dug into the bag and pulled out a waffle fry, she said, “I feel like life is going so fast!”
I glanced over at her and turned my eyes back to the road. “Yeah?”
“It scares me!”
So many thoughts ran through my mind. Have I projected these feelings on to her? Does she read my newsletter and social media posts? Is she worried about dying?
I quickly recalled what Kelly Corrigan wrote in her book, “Tell Me More”. She noted that when her daughters open up to her about a situation, it’s her tendency to jump in and offer advice, ask too many questions or say too much. Corrigan wrote that she’s learning to give her girls space to keep talking.
So I said, “Tell me more about that.”
“Well,” she continued, “I get to school and I’m like ‘Ugh, the day is going so slow,’ but then I go to lunch and suddenly it’s over.”
“And that’s scary? Why does it scare you?”
“I like my life. I just want to be in my life.” Or maybe she said, “I want to live my life.”
At this point I was trying to listen and hold on her words at the same time. I was trying to really understand where she was coming from.
What I gathered is that she’s becoming fully aware of time and how she’s experiencing it. Until now, she understood the feeling of time moving too slowly, but this was her first realization that time is passing.
I remember having this revelation as a child. It’s like you’re just living your life. You’re all the way in it with no concept of ever becoming a different version of yourself. And then you realize that you’re growing and changing, and the moment you’re experiencing right now won’t last forever.
It was scary. And sometimes, if I overthink it, it still scares me.
She continued, “We were in New York a year ago. That’s crazy!”
I counted with my fingers. “Well, actually, we took that trip 9 months ago. So not quite a year. But I get what you’re saying. I have these feelings too. It is crazy.”
I paused, recognizing that this was my opportunity to say more. “The only thing I know to do about it is to just try to be where you are. So when you go to school, just really try to be at school.”
“Yeah,” she said. And I was so glad that she understood what I meant.
“I spend a lot of time in the car,” I added. “Sometimes when I’m driving, I’ll notice that I’m thinking about a lot things, or wishing I wasn’t sitting in traffic and wanting to be home already. When I catch myself doing that, I pull myself out it and look around.”
We were pulling onto to our street at this point. “Like right now,” I said, “I’m looking at the trees and how they create a canopy. I notice the moss hanging down.”
And just like that, the conversation was over. Time to enter a new moment. We got out of the car and went inside.
After playing this conversation over in my mind, here’s what I’ve landed on: The awareness of time passing can be scary sometimes; it’s definitely unsettling. But I think it’s also a gift. It shakes me out of the daydream and back into my life. I return to my body, to my senses, and to my connection with my surroundings and my people.
This isn’t a new concept, especially when it comes to the topics and themes I write about. But the reminder that even children feel the passing of time does feel new. Maybe talking about it, and recognizing that we all feel it, can make life a little less scary.
It’s never too soon, or too late, to be where you are.
Hi, I’m Angie. My coming-of-age memoir, “Girl in the Spotlight,” will be released on October 3 by Publish Her.
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