Excuse me, how fast is time moving? (or “My Next Thirty Years”)

Posted: May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Paul Gaszak, English Faculty 

While I was growing up and anxiously awaiting my milestone birthdays (16, 18, 21), my mom warned me to slow down and enjoy being young, because “once you get to be an adult, time flies by.” Now that I’m only days away from turning 30 and constantly asking myself where the hell my 20s went, it seems Mom was right.

This is a performance of the turning-30 anthem “My Next Thirty Years” by Phil Vassar. I like his anecdote at the beginning about how the music executives told him that “No one wants to hear about turning 30.”

Since I turned 21, when I was finishing college and starting my first full-time job, Father Time has stomped on the accelerator. Events that seem so recent are now years in the rearview mirror. My first quarter teaching at RMU seems so fresh in my memory that every night I still print out Mapquest directions to campus, lay out my finest suit, and go to bed worrying about whether or not everyone will like me. I can probably stop, though, because it was over 5 ½ years that I started working here: I know the way, I don’t fit in that suit anymore, and I know no one likes me.

If time keeps moving like this, I will soon be 80 and incorrectly telling my grandchildren (or my lab-created genetic clones), “It seems like just yesterday that I graduated from college, but that was 74 years ago!”

So, in short, I’d like to thank my mother for opening my eyes to the depressing Yeager-like rapidity of adulthood.

(Just kidding, Ma. Love ya!)

However, while reflecting on the past decade of my life, I see all that has happened to me – and the world around me – and find that this sonic speed is an illusion. Things haven’t moved fast at all. It has been a long road for me these past 10 years, which has included:

  • Studying at multiple universities and earning multiple degrees.
  • Becoming a university professor.
  • Feeling weird calling myself a “professor.”
  • Becoming a homeowner.
  • Running for Congress.
  • Becoming an uncle, twice. And a Godfather.
  • Lying about running for Congress.
  • Maintaining a (now closed) personal blog for over five years and 350,000 words.
  • Writing tons of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Trying to impress women by referring to myself as “a writer.”
  • Having no success impressing anyone.

A lot of things happen in ten years for all of us. Any of us could write a monumentally long list of things we’ve done and been through in the past ten years. But what creates the illusion that time is moving so fast? For an interesting look at why time seems to fly, check out this article (with videos and audio) over at NPR.

And while you do that, “I think I’ll take a moment to celebrate my age. The ending of an era and the turning of a page. Now it’s time to focus  in on where I go from here. Lord have mercy on my next thirty years.”

  1. Trish says:

    Since some of my friends are turning 40 this year (not me, NOT me!), I can sympathize, and I’m glad to know scientists are hard at work solving the mysteries of life. The whole “running for Congress” bit almost got me. Clever, very clever. And you’re right; no one at work likes you; they love you! HBD, oh King of the Whiteboard.

  2. Jane Ungari says:

    If you think time flies, wait until you are double your age. Soon-to-be-retired Jane

  3. PG says:

    Trish – Thanks for the love! And it’s good to know I am a monarch, even if my kingdom is so small as a whiteboard.

    Jane – Please don’t tell me it gets faster! Eeek! haha.

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