Time is the Same in Every Language

Time. Shíjiān. Vremya. Temps. Jikan. Samaya. Tempo. Zeit. Tiempo. Sigan. Czas.

Growing up sucks. When I was in the eighth grade and first experimented with black eyeliner I thought I was the coolest girl to walk into school the next day- and every year after that- with each new discovery made, I thought the aging process was the best thing to happen to me since a padded bra.


You know that food wall you hit on Thanksgiving Day? Turkey drumstick after turkey thigh, one too many helpings of mom’s carb-loaded mashed potatoes and boom, you feel like you were whacked in the face, gut and back with a 2×4. Ladies and gents, that is my fine metaphor for growing up. 

Every day plays a whimsical soundtrack of lively music (with the occasional emo tune in regards to your first or second heartbreak) and a calendar means nothing more to you than a reason to have 12 glossy photos of that hunky model next to your bed. Then one day it hits you. The bills hit you, the responsibilities for yourself and others hit you.

No matter how much I try to dig for some signs of water beneath the sand, the hourglass is ticking and my fountain of youth is drying up.

Granted, I am 24 years-old. Nearing my supposed quarter-life crisis in just under 3 months (June 22nd, please mark your calendars appropriately), I cannot help but feel overwhelmed with how fast the years go by. Cue Pink Floyd’s, Time, for heart-heavy lyrics; a cause for nostalgia overload and flashbacks.

Chubby cheekin’ through the 3’s

When I was around 14 years-old, I began helping my dad with his side business doing peoples’ yard work, planting flowers and raking leaves. This one elderly woman in particular, Helen, used to invite my father and I inside for dessert after we were through in her yard. Stories of her teenage years were inevitable, most likely sparked by my presence as a growing young lady, I am assuming.

“My years were the best years America has seen,” the 80-something year old woman in good health would say every time.

“I have seen it all. I have seen so many changes. I planned for a great life with my husband.”

Well, five years after Helen’s passing, I still remember sitting in her kitchen, with her two beagle dogs and my father, snacking on Piroline’s and lemonade- John Sterling on AM radio announcing play by play of Yankees baseball- the summer soundtrack of my childhood. Sometimes, the simplest of phrases affect you- they linger on and make a home for themselves in your heart. That was one of them.

10 year-old Sarah

Thinking of the new season, the budding of flowers and the help my dad will likely ask for during the cleaning of the yard, I thought of Helen.

It does not seem so far off after all, being 80 years-old and all. She seemed happy being old, comfortable and able to pass on her story of planning for the future.

Now on the other end of the age spectrum, I had a close work acquaintance once who was talking to me about his friend’s death. He was in a car accident at 25 years-old. My friend went on to tell me more than the usual, “he was a good guy, everyone loved him.” He told me that his friend never had any real plans for the future. He worked, and he worked hard. But there was something about his love for living every day (but responsibly) that made it clear to almost everyone he was close with that he would not make it past 30 years-old; as if he was not meant to live a long life.

It was strange to say about someone. I was moved a bit.

So what is the key to feeling young? Not just acting like a skanked out soccer-mom who hits the 18+ clubs on the weekends while Bobby, Jane and Johnny are home with the babysitter, I mean there has to be something deep down in our souls that can be unearthed, like a Genie in a Bottle- but more realistic. Help me. Growing old is getting tough, and while many have their difference of opinion on what age actually makes you “officially” old, I want all the advice I can get.

I want to figure out the key to feeling young (not necessarily looking young- I can figure that out with a quick browse through the Yellow Pages), and I want to make it last for my lifetime.

Is it love? Is it health? Will I be able-bodied during my retirement? Is it knowing that no matter how old you get, and how powerless we are against the clock, there is always something in this beautiful world we have not yet seen- nor we ever will? Or does the stress of knowing that this world is, in fact, too big to see, and it weighs us down- binding our feet in their inevitable place in a convalescent home, without family, without any ability to travel beyond a television set?

Let me know before three months is up, or this incoming quarter-life crisis is going to be one badass to be reckoned with.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain. And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Lucky number 13.

24 thoughts on “Time is the Same in Every Language

  1. I don’t know how one deals with getting older, though I am arguably far older than you. My crises waited until my 40th and 50th and somehow I was left with the knowledge that you so eloquently expressed. You can’t stop this train – to the contrary, the more you experience, the faster it seems to accelerate. Perhaps it is the increased speed that makes us pay greater attention to the small wonders that used to pass unnoticed. I do know that you make a conscious choice – you can view aging as the inevitable encroachment of death, or the freedom from ‘shoulds’, ‘have-tos’ which give you greater freedom to truly love the day. Sorry to be so sappy…

  2. This deserves more thought than I can give in a reply at the moment. This is a very thought provoking post, and I want to do it justice, perhaps with a blog for an answer. I will get back to you today! Great post!

  3. Great post Sarah, although I want to shake you for referring to being 24 as “old”; I’m about 13 years your senior. It’s no lie, things are definitely different as you get older. My insight into this is to learn to relish those experiences through your new older, more experienced lenses, and by that, I don’t mean bitter, or jaded lenses. Think of it as having a more experienced palate as when one learns about wines or or fine foods. Life should be treated the same, using your experiences to find the subtle beauty that the world has to offer. It’s been right in front of you the whole time. By your posts, I can tell you already see it. Also, don’t tramp out like a soccer mom.

  4. One thing I’ve noticed is that time just keeps getting faster every year. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was your age. Not that I’m super old, but one thing that I think keeps me “young” is keeping a youthful sense of enthusiasm for the world around me. Take it in and don’t take it for granted. See the beautiful small things as well as the glorious big things. Never stop smiling or getting excited for all the awesome. Don’t be afraid to be silly and have fun. Find ways of tapping into your inner energy and use it! Explore the world in every way you can and see what it has to offer you. I feel that so many people feel like they have to “act a certain way” when they “grow up.” I say that’s craziness! Embrace your inner child and revel in the joy in each situation. Work to always be an optimist. And the older I get, the less I care about what people think about me, AND the less I’m judgmental about others. (Soccer moms wanna go out and work the club – you GO soccer moms! Haha!) Enjoy life and you’ll always be young!

  5. Wonderful post and some great replies. I have been chronically ill for the past 15 years which has greatly affected my lifestyle. Certainly, it has increased my appreciation for those small moments of joy. Relationships with family and friends become increasingly valuable as well as developing some sort of spiritual component in my life. Getting older is not frightening as long as you are doing things that give you joy and purpose.

    1. Well said! my mother is afraid and chronically ill (see my response to Sarah below) – but has seemingly given up on many many things that gave her that joy and purpose. Best wishes to you!

      1. I wonder if we glorify being younger too much? Perhaps if we can live each day without having regrets then getting older wouldn’t be so frightening. I have a brother-in-law who is experiencing ageism as he is looking for work. When you are being interviewed by someone hunger he/she has no idea whether ths older person is “young at heart” and errs making a quick judgment that this older person is too old and he probably cannot relate to the younger staff. Each season of life can be an adventure if we live passionately and “true to ourselves” but it also requires people to appreciate all ages also. Thanks for writing since it caused me to think about ths topic more closely. Thank you also Sarah for posting such a provocative blog.

  6. I’m looking at 48 (the day after yours, interesting), and for the first time, looking pretty closely.

    You asked:

    Is it love?
    This helps. Not just love of people, love of new discoveries, love of long-enjoyed interests, love of the natural world.

    Is it health? Will I be able-bodied during my retirement?
    This is up to you, as you know. (Motherly advice coming look out) Eating healthy food as well as not so healthy (at 24 you don’t want to know what I was eating and drinking), making sure to use those muscles and bones to keep them strong, and using your brain (which I can see you doing with this blog).

    Is it knowing that no matter how old you get, and how powerless we are against the clock, there is always something in this beautiful world we have not yet seen?
    YES. Young and curious go hand in hand, young and curious Sarah. ;) Never believe for one moment that you’ve seen it all, because you have not. There’s no need to spend time worrying about what you won’t have time to see. See all that you can, for as long as you can.

    Being sort of between “young” and “old”, I can tell you the number one factor I think contributes to people becoming “old” is a loss of curiosity and wonder.

  7. Hi Sarah,

    thank you for visiting my blog. Your post is very thoughtful and insightful for a 24-year old, I enjoyed reading it. My two cents on growing old but staying young: I think you actually nailed it when you mentioned the ability to still be surprised and curious about all the wonderful things that the world has to offer. No matter how old, wise and experienced one gets, there are always things to see and places to explore. Only when we become cynical and tired we stop being young. That is why I like travel so much – the world is enormously big, and there would always be another destination to go to experience that thrill of youth. The key, though, is to keep this feeling alive…

  8. I hit the half century mark on New Years Eve. It goes by in a flash. I remember being insulted when a dear friend got me a “1/4 of a century” t shirt for my 25th. Is there a secret to remaining young/having a young outlook? Yes – its called positivity and gratefulness. Nothing ages a person faster spiritually and psychologically than a stingy, pruney, nasty, glum or negative outlook. We can’t stop aging, but we don’t have to “grow old” and give up our dreams or other things that make us happy. My dad was 79 when he suddenly left us 5 years ago June 7. But he lived completely and thoroughly -doing exactly what he wanted to do – right up until his ticker stopped. My mother will be 73 in June – Her outlook is so very different than my dad’s (why they divorced in 1982) and she is the one who is truly old. Everything is scheduled, she doesn’t go anywhere without at least a month of pre planning, doesn’t go out at night, locks her doors in the middle of the day and always seems afraid and angry. I love my mom dearly but I feel sorry for her. She’s missing out on wonderful adventures and fun times with her family and friends. I understand she is not always physically well (COPD) but I have asthma and I don’t let it stop me. I just go slower sometimes. I’m rambling but I guess my point is if you have a great attitude you’ll always be young in spirit:

    Fairy tales can come true
    It can happen to you
    If you’re young at heart, for it’s hard, you will find,
    To be narrow of mind
    If you’re young at heart
    You can go to extremes
    With impossible schemes
    You can laugh when your dreams
    Fall apart at the seams
    And life becomes exciting with each passing day,
    And love is either in your heart… or on its way.
    Don’t you know that it’s worth
    Every treasure on earth
    To be young at heart?
    For, as rich as you are,
    It’s much better by far
    To be young at heart
    And, if you should survive
    To a hundred and five,
    Look at all you’ll derive
    Just by being alive!
    Now, here is the best part:
    You have a head start
    If you are among the very young…
    At heart
    ~ sung by Jimmy Durante, covered by Frank Sinatra amongst others

    Have a WONDERFUL day Miss Sarah! Go Huskies!

    1. What a great reply. Thank you so much for your input on this post, I appreciate it- and all the replies from my readers. It’s so nice to know that people can relate to what I post about, and have caring and insightful advice <3

      1. awesome, Sarah! thanks, and keep right on doing what you’re doing. You knock it out of the park every time! Go Huskies! (my niece goes to UConn, Storrs Campus, graduating this year)

  9. Secret to feeling young – always have something you are looking forward to, always have a hope that you can make something marvelous happen. (not that somethiing marvelous willl happen to you – that’s too passive… you have to always be going for it!

  10. When I was wandering through my late 30’s, at work, younger employees who were about your age would ask my for sage advise… well, really not, but they knew that I was a therapist on the behavioral health unit at the hospital. They were into dating and often the conversations would come around to “Is he/she the one for me”. My suggestion, regarding relationships, or other activities would be to consider what you want, not today, but when you are 60, 70, or 80. Should we live that long, we are making the decisions today, through our attitudes and actions, of whom we will become as we age. Making change is possible at any age, but most people tend to become more who they are as they age… Or, as a friend said to her daughter, about dating, “If you don’t like his behavior now, you are going to like it even less in 30 years.” BTW, we have a friend, who recently turned 60, who became single after 20+ years of marriage. She’s doing the Match.Com thing, but I cannot see the difference in her attitude or the men she goes out with than when she was sitting in a bar 40 years ago. Become by doing. Be aware of what you are doing
    P.S. I do not see any tattoos at age 3, 10, or 13 in your photos. Shall I conclude that your 10 tattoos have occurred more recently?

  11. I just wrote a birthday blog post about getting older.

    I agree most of all with the poster “Momma” when she says “Yes – its called positivity and gratefulness. Nothing ages a person faster spiritually and psychologically than a stingy, pruney, nasty, glum or negative outlook. We can’t stop aging, but we don’t have to “grow old” and give up our dreams or other things that make us happy”.

    So so true, and I am discovering that only this year due to a combination of dark events (job loss, mother extremely ill and now disabled, etc.). I completely changed my attitude and started to embrace all aspects of my life and my health with gratefulness.

    By doing this, I already feel younger at 38 than I ever did in my 20s when I was loaded down with depression, pessimism, self-concsicousness and fear.

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