We All Have Our Own Time
December 27, 2015
Every person gets their own unique life, including an extremely personalized sense of time.
As connected metronomes, we tell our story from what seem like relatively objective perspectives. But our perception of time is so personal, 3 seconds to me may actually be longer or shorter to you. We know this because of Einstein and his TOR. He said in a roundabout paraphrase that you perceive time separately, and independently, relative to every other living thing in the Universe.
Another way of looking at it would be that we all have our own time.
We are here, right now, reading and thinking things because we were born. The speed of our movements and quality of our connections both seem to slow time down, perhaps making it seem longer and deeper, as the seconds tick by.
But then one day, each one of us, will die.
It is a voyage we are all on, and it will be completely different for every single person.
Some people are only given short lives, due to genetics or circumstances. The unluckiest get only hours or days. Some only get a few years.
Right now some, are barely holding on.
It is my hope that the people who only had the briefest moments of existence felt fulfilled, due to a higher LOVE:TIME ratio. Mind you, all of ‘this’ feels brief, perhaps because our only platform is this present moment.
We all live in this 3 dimensional parcel of time; a connected space roughly the same size for all living things. It is a privilege that our existences all overlap even a little bit as we all, in some way, enrich each other’s world.
Some of us will live longer, until the teen years or long enough to have friends and lovers. Some will remain to get married or have children. The luckiest of us, from a purely time standpoint, may be the ones of us who graduate into Grandparenthood or even become Great.
Some lives will be easier than others. Some will be filled with immense pain and suffering.
You will understand much of what some have gone through because you have in some way been hurt by it too. You will seek to learn more, about the things you see and feel, revealing new motivations and truths. You will make assumptions and infer, based upon your time on Earth, as unique as it is, that you can generalize when you can’t.
You may even start to assume that others are less than you because you are currently winning in the game that you have created. Your rules mean nothing to space and time.
Don’t deny the people around you the right to operate from their own history, full of equally valuable experiences, that would both inspire and frighten you. Learn about others through their own lens, and realize we are all on similar paths, with vastly different scars.
In some ways, there may not really be a thing called a ‘Younger Person’. There are only people who have seen less quantity; and for those that truly live, perhaps the best measure is quality.
It is easy to look at children and warmly think to yourself that they have their whole lives ahead of them. These moments of egocentric reflection only repave many of your own edited memories; nostalgic crossroads from a contrived past. At best your fantasies ignore their current accomplishments and the amazing life, they are immersed in at this very moment. At worst it fails to include a factual reality, of being a child in many parts of this world.
It is important to resist the notion that youth is a time of innocence. That innocence applies to many of us still, even those going grey, looking for meaning and passion before it ends. It is easy to think that people who are younger are ignorant, or naive.
Some children gain wisdom by surviving courageous or dangerous circumstances, and in some ways have ‘lived’ more than you or I may ever.
Many children do not have their whole lives ahead of them.
Many are not looking forward to their future.
Many live in poverty, violence, oppression, and abuse in your country and many other countries around the world. Impoverished children may have stitched the clothes you are currently wearing, or perhaps even helped to assemble the electronic device you are using to read this.
Being ‘young’ is just another stereotype that illuminates our own comfort bubble and self-aggrandization. Many kids today are not living your childhood. Some are currently enduring horrendous conditions, looking for safety as they flee Syria. I bet there are 9 years olds from Syria, who have more wisdom and maturity than myself, and many people much older than me.
If they have their whole life ahead of them, is that not also true of you as well?
This perspective does not mean you should live every day like it is your last. Rather, build a community of acceptance and understanding around you, and work towards healthy goals on a daily basis. Build a beautiful present moment in as many opportunities as possible; the amount of time you have left will eventually reveal itself.
My Wife died when she was 35 years old, after being diagnosed with Metastatic cnacer, 13 months earlier. It is almost exactly 3 years later, and I still grieve, and wonder what my life would be like if we had beaten it. When she turned 33, we had no idea that things were about to change so radically. We didn’t understand that her life was only going to last, for 2 more years.
What Kerri did with her time was beautiful, and I am still trying to accomplish her daily habits.
And my struggle continues, in accepting that her time here is up, and using my time left, in the best ways possible.
Simon Trepel, MD
Over the next several months, roughly 1,000 Syrian Refugees will become friends and neighbors to Friendly Manitobans and Winnipegers. If you want to help get some of them settled, please check out the following link.
If you would rather learn more about how to help Syrian children get to safe places, like Canada, please check out the following link.
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. Hope everyone had a happy holiday, and I hope you don’t mind thinking about serious stuff while on a likely much deserved vacation.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at