The time you can’t get back.


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.

  1. What times do you miss?
  2. Do you wish you could go back in time to re-live or re-do something specific?
  3. Have you ever had a time that felt “just like old times”?
  4. Why can’t we ever really re-create our past?
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3 thoughts on “The time you can’t get back.

  1. 1.What times do you miss? I miss camp days, and college days, and some highscool days, the times of being a kids with no worries…
    2.Do you wish you could go back in time to re-live or re-do something specific? Not really…life has been pretty darn good to me..got to live with no regrets!
    3.Have you ever had a time that felt “just like old times”? YES! and I love them and wish there could be more!
    4.Why can’t we ever really re-create our past? The moments just aren’t the same, but the laughs that they produce can be! Thats the best part! If we were able to re-create out past, we would dwell on it and not be able to make great memories in the future.

  2. Hi!

    I’d just like to thank you for writing. As a 17-year-old living in a fast-paced society, I often find myself questioning what we’re all living for. Why must everything be so complicated? What use are all these experiences and discoveries if we’ll ultimately perish as do all living beings? What happens if I fail?

    Despite my desire to live life to the fullest, I’ve always been confused and indecisive – not wanting to forego a potential experience in blind pursuit of another, and not knowing where the next step I take will lead me. And whenever I look back, I’m always astonished at how much everything’s changed, how much I’ve changed. If ten years ago I thought I’d had a lot to worry about, well, it sure was nothing compared to right now!

    Perhaps I’m still too young to understand the true magnitude of time, perhaps I’m still a little too naive to fully grasp what life really means, but your words have inspired and enlightened me, and I just wanted to let you know that you’ve touched at least one person from the other side of the world. 🙂

    1. I miss running around in the grass without a worry in the world, I miss lying in the desert sand with my friends on a school trip to Egypt, I miss not having to deal with college applications… I miss dreaming about everything I’d do when I was all grown up.

    2. Nope. I regret doing some things, but I believe all those mistakes contribute to what makes us, us. If I never did anything wrong, I would never have learned the lessons I’ve learned. I wouldn’t be myself.

    3. I think it’s always a little different… 😛

    4. Because we’d know better! We wouldn’t redo all the crazy, stupid things we did, even though a lot of them do become our most cherished memories.

  3. At 17 years of age, I can tell you already have a great head on your shoulders.
    Your genuine questions are 100% “normal.” Ones I still ask on a daily basis.

    The day I posted on this topic, I’d heard someone talk about echoes. How the choices we make in our youth carry us into adulthood. The positive decisions of today shape the positive future waiting for us to explore. So, when we’re making choices that help others, reflect beauty, and motivate those around us, we are fulfilling a greater purpose. We are looking beyond ourselves. Sometimes we make mistakes; sometimes we drop the ball. But we can learn from every ball dropped and every smudge smeared (a point I think you truly understand). Still, even those who understand sometimes forget. Don’t. Don’t forget. Don’t be afraid to send your echoes out into the world; failure or triumph – they are yours and yours alone. You never know when you’ll hear them again. That’s the wonder of it all.

    And if you ask me, which you sort of did, I think that if more 17 year olds asked questions, read the thoughts of those around them (older, not saying I’m “wiser”), the speed-demon-facebook-twitter-world would be a much better place!

    Thanks for reading. Thanks for your complimentary comments.

    ~ Megan

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