When minutes add up to years

 “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.”Albert Einstein

Doing my “bicycle exercises” is definitely helping the health of my legs; the same legs that now feel like rubber. The burn in my muscles lets me know I am making progress. The other day, from my vantage point on the floor, I was certain I had been peddling away for hours. Laying on my exercise mat, I glanced over at the clock. Surely I had made progress, and was inching to the two-minute mark.

Nope. I hadn’t even completed one minute of peddling. Ugh!!! I persevered. I looked back at the clock, and I was still under a minute. Now the fighter in me kicked in – I would complete a full minute of these exercises, even if it killed me. The clock ticked slowly, and as I finally hit my minute mark, I felt good that I made it. Going into my next set of floor exercises, I started thinking about how long a minute is. We use the term “Zero to Sixty” so frequently, but in all honesty, sometimes a minute feels like an eternity. Sixty seconds can be the longest time span ever.

Time is odd. Songs, poems and memes have been written on the value of time, but we don’t really seem to comprehend what it really means, until we are running late for class or are stuck in traffic on our way to the airport. One minute going by too quickly can be disastrous. You miss your connecting flight by a minute, and you have to jump through hoops to get to your destination. A minute late at school can cost 15 minutes of detention. A minute late getting to the hospital can cost one witnessing a birth or bidding a tearful good-bye.

I don’t usually put much thought in minutes, just their cumulative add-up, turning into hours, days, weeks, months and years. But that moment that I was on the floor exercising has really made me think – and value – the little chunks of time that add up to a lifetime.

As a military mom and spouse, I can’t tell you how fast time goes when we prep for Temporary Duty (TDY) or deployment. The days and weeks flash by in what seems like seconds. And yet, during deployment, the time drags on forever, or so it seems.

When my babies were sick, it seemed that the nights dragged on forever. Every minute a fever inched higher, the minutes waiting for the pediatrician to call back seemed like hours.

Any time I have had to deliver a three-minute speech, it felt more like I was standing for three hours. Yet those same three minutes go by way too quickly when putting a pan on the stove and turning the burner on high.

Except for when I exercise, I can truly see how fast time does fly. I see it in my children and grandchildren. Flipping through photos is a great way to see how quickly minutes add up to a lifetime. Looking at my to-do list, I also see how fast the minutes turn into days and then weeks, and I still haven’t completed my list.

Our youngest child will enter her senior year of high school this fall. We have started the process of discussing ACTs and SATs, colleges, taking senior photos, talking scholarships – you name it – the usual “from junior-to-senior” chats. Most days, the conversations feel routine. After all, she is the fourth child, so these talks aren’t the first we’ve had in our family. But, wow, the reality of these talks being our last set of junior-to-senior transitional chats seems surreal.

The concept of time really hit me the other day, as my baby was driving to work, and I sat shotgun. On our way, we passed a little girl who was sitting on her front porch, wearing a princess dress and a tiara, busy blowing bubbles on a sunny spring day.

“Aw, look how cute she is! I remember you guys dressing up,” I commiserated. I am quite sure my daughter doesn’t miss those days as much as I – yet, anyway.

At that point, I realized how fast my minutes were going. Time, really, is going that fast. Our last child in high school, thirty-plus years of marriage – how did we get here already? Can minutes add up to years that quickly?

Oh yes, they sure can. Anything that is good seems to go by too fast. Those great minutes add up to wonderful years in no time flat.

And for that, I am blessed.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Do you feel like time is going by too fast? Let me know in the comment section.

Woot! Featured on BlogHer on May 9, 2014! And featured on The Laundry Moms on June 16. 2015!

21 Replies to “When minutes add up to years”

  1. You struck many chords in this post. It was bittersweet. Watching my grandchildren grow up brings back so many memories of my kids growing up and I am enjoying every ‘minute’ of it. Then I look back and see what I missed of my own children growing up because of busyness. Too bad we didn’t have a reset button to relive the moments that went by too quickly.
    Carol @ Battered Hope

    1. Thank you, Carol. I would hit a reset button…how many days I have thought, “Just one more moment to snuggle with them…”

  2. Lynne – What a wonderful reflection on the subject of time. It sure got my “memoir” ideas churning. It seems that as we “mature” , time starts to move a lot faster. I agree with the premise that when you retire, you will probably never say that I wish I had spent more time at work (and less time with the family). I believe that we all miss the good old days and might have done some things differently, given the chance. But we did the best we could do at the time. Looking back, I cherish every minute of my family. Time just flies by so fast. I seems just like yesterday that you were pushing a stroller to church and your husband was trying to talk me into re-enlisting. Now that your youngest is becoming a senior, I can tell how long ago that was. Wow! Thank you for churning up all those good memories. I almost feel like exercising now! Almost.

  3. Lovely commentary on time. I always try to remember for bad things that “this to shall pass.”

  4. Hi, new reader from WOM FB group. I have another take on it (though I agree with everything you said). A minute is actually a really long time. Years ago I read a book called Timeshifting and the author has an exercise where you close your eyes and imagine a minute. I called it at 20 seconds! Go ahead, try it. It instilled in me the fact that I really DO have a minute to spend just sitting with my children (who are now grown) or chat with a neighbor, or to enjoy my garden. Thanks for a thought-provoking post (and helping me remember).

  5. Looking through pictures of my tween daughter for my most recent blog post made me realize how quickly those minutes add up, especially watching our children grow. I recently said to my husband that in the nearly 13 years our daughter has been alive, I don’t feel like 13 years of MY life have passed…just hers. Maybe it’s because of the tremendous amount of physical growth kids go through in their early lives…I certainly haven’t changed that much physically (thank the universe for that). Some days I wish I could slow it down, just a little.

  6. Lovely post! It reminds me of when I was a single Mom and the kids were little. There was always so much to do. Now they’ve left the house and have little ones of their own and I would give anything to have those minutes back again.

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