It’s the thing we want the most of, yet the thing that slips away all too quickly. It’s the thing we hope slows when we are enjoying it, yet the thing we hope speeds up when we no longer wish to endure it anymore. It’s amorphous, yet measured. Finite, yet infinite.
This is what we call ‘time.’
Yes, time. It’s such an odd concept, hard to fully grasp no matter how much it may run our day-to-day lives. These days, in the era of Covid-19, time feels more fluid than it has ever felt before; days blend together into weeks, weeks into months, and before we know it, a half a year has passed by without much notice. For me, time all but stopped in March 2020, when my neck of the woods shut down businesses and schools, restaurants and bars, along with any and all typical indicators of normal life. Even has restrictions eased and outdoor dining resumed, and non-essential stores and businesses reopened, my brain was stuck in March even though life found me in June, July, and August.
Working from home has done me no favors, either. Rounds of video conferences and phone calls, along with a continuous stream of emails to answer and problems to help solve left me with my blinders on to the time whirling past me at top speed. It was as if the passage of time was blocked within the walls of my house — only on the outside did the hands of clock continues speeding through its daily orbits.
Suddenly, I found myself staring at the word “September.” Fall. School season. Less daylight hours. Less time. But, as with all months, they usually contain something worth celebrating: a holiday, a birthday, an anniversary. Something to mark the passage of time, but do so in a way that is not sad or somber in focusing on what we missed, but instead who and what we have before us. And in the month of September, I get to celebrate my best friend’s birthday.
Let me tell you a little bit about my best friend: as you may have read in my post What Matters Today: Daydreaming, my best friend is someone who has been by my side for quite some time, always my favorite person to daydream with, chat with, laugh with, cry with, and of course, celebrate life with. But what I did not mention is that this very year — this odd, strange year that is 2020 — marks exactly 20 years that she and I have known each other. Yes, she and I met has mere 5-year-old little schoolgirls in kindergarten and have been walking through life together arm in arm ever since.
We went through elementary school, middle school, and high school together, then attended separate colleges. While we had our share of ups and downs as we navigated our college experiences and branched out to different friend groups, hit walls in challenging classes, or charted our own paths through our new surroundings, we still managed to come together in the end. We always found our ways back to each other, and I am ever grateful for that.
Now as young adults, I recognize the value of having a best friend in your life who has known you and loved you all those years — to have that person who knew you way back when, and who can remind you of who you were, who you are, and who you are meant to be when perhaps you forget. She certainly does that for me, and I hope I do the same for her.
So to me, celebrating my best friend’s birthday becomes something of a holiday, a day (or two) to spend quality time with the person who — outside of my immediate family — has known me longer than any other human on this planet.
Today, that is exactly what we did. We packed a picnic, piled in my car (with masks on, of course), and drove out to a local vineyard for a day filled with sunshine, wine, good food, and good company. We talked like we hadn’t seen each other in ages, even though it’s been but a month since we last had a day out, and we spent hours filling each other in on the latest happenings in our work lives, home lives, personal lives, and beyond.
Yes, much time passed as we sat out in the sunshine together. However, the passage of time was not merely about hours, minutes, and second flying by — it was about the quality of those hours, minutes, and seconds because who we spent it with.
So what matters today is time, time with the people who knew us way back when, loved us then and continue to love us into today. What matters is friendship, the kind of friendship that stands the test of time, grows as each friend grows, and evolves into something that is a beautiful blend of the best each person has to offer. What matters today is fresh air, sunshine, good wine, and good company.
What matters most today is having time and choosing to spend it with those who shaped your past, remain in your present, and will guide you into your future.