I don’t think any of us measure time as young people as we do when we attain a certain degree of maturity about us. (That’s pretty talk for I’m getting some snow on the roof…) I believe when we’re young, time seems infinite to us and we measure that time in terms of days or weeks, sometimes by the hour. I don’t remember it ever occurring to me that something special was in the air when we ended one decade and moved into another. Now here I am with that proverbial snow on the roof and I realize I’ve not only been through a couple of decade changes or so, I’ve also survived the great Y2K panic. It was probably about that time, when I’d turned the dreaded thirty (my, oh, my how my perception of age has changed now!), I slowly began to realize that time was moving on whether my moisturizer was on board or not. I began to appreciate time a bit more and rather than measuring it in increments of a few hours, days, or weeks at a time, I began to look through a broader lens. It was also around that time when I felt the shift in how time moved. Before the great Y2K became a reality, time seemed to move fairly slowly. I was always in a hurry to get to this, that, or the other thing and it seemed to take forever to get there. After, not so much. After, time seemed to accelerate. I’d heard my elders speak of this acceleration and thought they must surely be wrong.
They were not.
I was miles and miles and miles away from home when we not only ushered in a new decade back in 1999, but also a new century and a new millennium. I have seen a movement in time a handful of people have shared with me in the grand scheme of things. I mean, when history is examined, what will the population have been who the next generations can point to and say, wow…what must that have been like to breath through such an event? The turning and passing of time through a new decade, a new century, a new millennium? I don’t know that I understood the brevity of it fully then. I think, rather, it is something that I steep in even now and am still coming to understand with each day that goes by.
Okinawa, Japan was my home as we stood on the precipice of this phenomenal event. We reveled in it. Then with time in constant motion, the new wore off. We went about our daily lives in status quo mode. I was writing a historical fiction novel on an ancient hunk of a computer which never saw the light of day past my desk by night and working at a bank by day. Over the next ten years, we would move six more times. Our son would reach adulthood, our first grandchild would be born, and I would decide to pursue my passion, writing, seriously for the first time in my adult life. And in 2009, I would stand on the brink of ushering in another decade wondering, where did the years go between Okinawa and Havelock, North Carolina? I’d spent many of them with my husband deployed as that was the height of the Middle East campaigns. And they’d just flown away on the breeze.
As I stood on that brink, I knew the next year, 2010, would bring with it something great. There had been enough mediocre, so I was due. It would be that year I was offered my first contract and I found a stable publishing home at a small press in Indiana. The next nine years went by in a blur and a flurry of publishing dreams coming to fruition. Those years would see me through two more years of separation from my husband through deployments and four more moves, and bring six more grandchildren. The last move was to our retirement home here in the Smoky Mountains when my husband made it to the magic number of thirty years of active service and we separated from the active duty life.
And here we are…2019.
Another decade change is upon us and I look back today and wonder, where did the years go? I also wonder what great things 2020 will bring and what stunning historical events we will see in the next ten years. Will we create chaos or greatness? I’m on the cusp of career achievements I couldn’t have imagined ten years ago, and time is still accelerating. The only thing I know to do is hang on for the ride and appreciate every moment no matter how fast it’s flying by.
At the end of my days with the small press out of Indiana, they published what would turn out to be the next to the last novel I had in me before my sabbatical from the industry. The hero and the heroine had been married for going on thirty years, and they’d been through many of the same things my husband and I have experienced with such a long military career. And I remember very distinctly the moment my hero and heroine realized that time was accelerating, and they wondered as I do, where did it go?
“Where did the time go?”
“It’s been flying away for years, Gav. To the Middle East, around the states, Japan…it’s been devoured in whirlwinds of time zones and sucked away from us.”
“But that doesn’t have to continue,” he whispered across her ear. “We have the power to change all that. We have the power to let go of the past and enjoy what’s now. To look forward to our future.”
Today, on the cusp of a new decade, I look forward and am ready to embrace all that comes with it.