As I Get Older, Time Is Speeding Up
Jewish holidays remind me that time is whizzing by.
I love Purim. I like the story; I find it moving and meaningful. I like the heroine; I find her inspirational (and it doesn’t hurt that my name is Esther Emuna). I like the emphasis on giving to the poor and food baskets to our neighbors, and I like the festive meal, costumes and all.
But the problem is that Purim reminds me that Passover is around the corner. Wait – I’m not going where you think I am. I like Passover. I actually enjoy the cleaning. I like the cooking, I love the Seder. I like hosting Passover in my home.
But the problem is that then Lag b’Omer is around the corner. And then Shavuot. And then Tisha B’Av. And before you know it, it’s Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Chanukah. And then we’re back at Purim again.
It does sometimes seem like it happens as quickly as I’m describing it, that no sooner have I put away my Passover dishes and restocked my house then it’s time to clean again. I know I exaggerate – but perhaps only slightly. Because time, the time of my life, of our lives, seems to be whizzing by.
I always say that the days are long but the years are short. And as we get older, we have the sense (my friends and I) that time is speeding up. And that is sobering. Along with the joy of the preparation for each holiday is this sense of the passing of time – maybe it’s too early to wonder how many Purims and Passovers I have left. Maybe it isn’t. But it’s on my mind.
A good friend is coming with her husband from the east coast to spend Purim with us. We’ve known each other about 37 years. Once again, time seems to be slipping by. It’s almost as if it’s been compressed, that 37 years took up the space of 10. I’m not even sure how to process this reality.
But process it I must. And find some way out of the melancholy, fear and anxiety that is hovering on the periphery.
There is only one way out – developing my relationship with the Almighty, continuing to focus on the joy and opportunities available to me and deepening my gratitude.
Yes, the time passes quickly but each day can be one of growth, one of giving, one of caring, one of learning, one of growing. Yes, I’m not getting younger but as long as I use the time I have well, as long as I imbue it with meaning, then I will find each day to be a source of nourishment and not pain.
As I said, I love Purim. And Passover. And all the rest of the Jewish holidays. And if they bring with them a reminder of the passage of time, then how much more am I compelled to use them productively, to glean the most meaning possible from them, to experience them on an exalted level of joy? Watching time go by may be sobering but it’s also a wake-up call. Since I can’t get it back, I need to make sure I really appreciate it and make the most of it.
I was thinking that maybe I’m too busy to find a costume for Purim this year but I don’t want to have regrets, large or trivial, so I think I’ll revisit that choice. I want a Purim that’s as festive and meaningful as possible. And then I want the same for Passover and all the holidays that follow. Instead of dreading the quick procession of holidays, I want to completely invest myself in each one and enjoy them to the fullest.
Purim and Passover (and Lag B’Omer and Shavuot) – bring them on!