What is it with time? Why is it that our notion, perception and awareness of it differs as we age? It seems that last Ramadan was upon us only yesterday and now look at how much of this Ramadan has already elapsed. Soon it will be over, so fast, so quietly and so simply.
More than a year has gone by with the world living in the pandemic, and yet it seems that only yesterday the news channels were talking about this new deadly virus, showing clips of deserted cities around the world, overrun hospitals and overflowing morgues.
Lockdowns and travel bans, masks and gloves, sanitizers and soap, and lessons learned from living with COVID-19 have become the norm in this new way of life, just as working from home, virtual meetings and online learning have. How fast it has all gone by and how quickly we have gotten used to these changes.
“How time flies” is such an appropriate expression. One minute it is morning, the next it is the middle of the night. And yet, I clearly remember how time took forever to pass. Weekends seemed so far, and vacations even further. Just like a child who cannot wait to grow up, there was always a feeling that we wanted things to go faster, that everything was too slow.
Growing up, I always felt that time was a burden because the hands of the clock were not moving according to the speed of my whims. The semester was too long, the classes endless, the speeches interminable and the time for that invitation/visit/holiday to come far too distant.
Social media has also made time flee even faster because simply following or reading the entries posted on your addresses is very time consuming.
If only I knew then how much I would love to relive the sense that time is slower and to appreciate the minutes, rather than wonder where they disappeared. Today, everything is going at bullet train speed. It seems that Sunday is replaced by Sunday and not Monday, and the years are flying by like autumn leaves on a windy afternoon.
Is it a question of age? Is it because I am getting older that I am more aware of time or rather its near nonexistence? Or is it because our lives are busier? Or perhaps, it is the fact that there are so many things out there that we want to cram into our lives that time has become more of an enemy than a friend. Yes, there is always a tomorrow, but how much of what we want to do can actually be done within that time?
Social media has also made time flee even faster because simply following or reading the entries posted on your addresses is very time consuming and makes you forget how much time has actually passed. Add to this the fast-paced existence we are living today, the lack of slowing down to savor that moment, sip that coffee, smell the baking, enjoy the laughter or simply to close your eyes and daydream, and it is no wonder that time disappears as fast as it comes.
• Hoda Al-Helaissi is a member of the Shoura Council since 2013. She is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee within the Shoura.