Time. It moves us forward in our days, years, lives. Clocks rule how we move from activity to activity. Digital and Grandfather, we tick through life based on their prompts. We worry about not enough hours in the day. We wonder where time goes. We see it fly by. And we try to take digital snap shots of moments and hours, days and weeks, months and years. At the end of the day, when the numbers on the clock show the expiration for our moments and daily activities, we set our clocks to wake us for the next day’s same-old events.
Time. I often think about time. The time I spend doing meaningless tasks. The time I spend doing meaningful tasks. The time I spend wishing. The time I spend working. And I tend to think, more often than I should (?), on the time I can’t get back. The time I already used up.
Days ago. Weeks ago. Years ago.
And as much as I sometimes wish I could travel back in time to specific times – to change them, to experience them, to learn from them – I can’t. I can’t re-do those times. I can’t re-create those times. Because they are done and over with. But I can still miss them, right? I can still think back on them with fondness and remembrance.
On Friday night, while the Gophers lost (at home) to SCSU, I was out with friends. Girls I hadn’t seen in quite some time. All of us together – it had been years. Sitting outside a Panera Bread on a beautiful October evening, we marveled at how long it’d been since our last get-together. But we really marveled at how long it’d been since our college days where our time was filled with lectures, labs, practicums, studying, projects, and the run of the mill college life. Days and years when we spent nearly every waking moment together. In lectures and labs, dorm rooms and apartments. And we smiled. At how far we’ve come. At how much time has changed us.
After filling up on Panera, we carpooled through the town to some of the local shops. We reverted back to our old ways – our old days. The car ride was, as it always was in college, eventful. The conversations, though somewhat more advanced, were the same. The shopping was silly and light-hearted. And then, as many college-kids act, we let spontaneity take over. We left the shops we were shopping at. We drove to another shop where we ran around like little school girls, most likely annoying the store clerks with our last-minute purchases before the store closing. And if that weren’t enough, we had to, absolutely had to do a Target run. Because one friend, just like old times, blurted out her forgetfulness and need for some items. We laughed. We drove to our college store of choice. And again, we shopped. We dawdled. We rushed. We laughed. Right up to the closing hour.
And for a brief moment, we were back in college, hanging out on a Friday night like we did so many times before.
And yet, we weren’t back. Because we can’t ever go back. Time won’t let us. Life won’t allow it.
Sometimes I wish time were reversible. Sometimes I wish we could go back. Completely back to our younger years, our best years. Back to that one week at camp when we laughed so hard we cried. Back to that family vacation when everything went wrong but we still had a blast. Back to that day when we accomplished something amazing. Back to that conversation when we listened and learned. Back to that special birthday party. Back to that college class with all of our friends.
But, when I’m honest with myself, I realize that it wouldn’t be fair – to us or time. Because we had those times. We used them up. And however we used them, good or bad, we have to live with that. We have to move forward from those times. Because we’re always given new times to use, wisely and foolishly, they are ours for the taking.
My time is up. I’m moving on from the topic of time. On to the next moment I’m given.
I ask. You answer.
- What times do you miss?
- Do you wish you could go back in time to re-live or re-do something specific?
- Have you ever had a time that felt “just like old times”?
- Why can’t we ever really re-create our past?