Towards the end of last year I was having a conversation with a friend and mentor regarding the difficulties of raising children especially in today’s society. He has 3 grown adult children and well I’m on the other side of the spectrum with 3 kids all under the age of 8. We swapped stories and ideas and during our conversation he turned to me and said “Sean when it comes to raising kids, you need to remember that the days are long but the years are short.”
When I had a chance to reflect on our conversation I couldn’t think of a better way to describe how relative time is when it comes to raising kids. They grow and develop so quickly and you have such a small window to guide and show them life. Most days feel like they stretch forever with parenting duties but you blink your eyes and your babies aren’t yours anymore. I clearly remember the first night we brought Lake home from hospital, having my sleep interrupted 5 or 6 times I thought, how do people survive this? This morning that same little guy, 8 years later was telling me I’m being rude and ruining his life (this isn’t paraphrased) all because I was hurrying him to get ready for school. Where has the time gone? What happened to 8 years?
I think time isn’t only relative to raising kids but to life in general. Albert Einstein would agree with me 😁. The early years of your life pass much slower than the later years as we age. This is because our early years are relative to the rest of our life. We’ve lived 7 years out of an average 80 years and so our perception is one of time passing slower
I’m turning 40 this year (my family reminds me of this often because one night after an extra glass or bottle of Pinotage, who can remember?, I promised to take everyone to Mauritius for my 40th) so I might have to start a “go fund me” page. But nearing 40 I find my years definitely do pass quicker as I reach the average midpoint of my life. My perception of time is quicker.
And so knowing that time will pass quicker for me (relatively) over the next few years I’ve realized that I’ve made the common mistake of thinkIng I have plenty of time. The truth is I don’t. Neither do you. I’m a bit of an agnostic when it comes to knowing what happens when I leave this life. I’m still deciding 😁 but I am here and I’m here now. I better make the most of the time I have left.
So the decisions I make should be in context of knowing that my days may feel long but in reality my years are going to be short. There are times when I need to show discipline and restraint and others where an extra slice of chocolate cake is necessary. There will be times when I’ll feel like I can’t go on, times when my kids will push my buttons and times when I feel isolated from family and friends. These are the long days. My little girl’s smile, my boys putting their hands in mine as we walk into school, Candice and my almost telepathic ability in playing 30 Seconds, a client’s 5 year struggle with back pain disappearing in 40 mins, these are all things that make up the short years. Time is relative.
Short years are made up of long days. Long days do come to an end (even when they feel like the might not) and short years are the fabric of our lives. Enjoy both because youu have time. You don’t.