I was thinking about the passage of time the other day while talking with a friend about our shared memories of the 80s, and how weird it is that time seemed to move so slowly when we were kids. I have a couple of vivid memories of childhood that seem to outline this idea particularly well.
The first was when I had just turned four and I was running around the neighborhood with absolutely nothing to do. I took a shortcut around our neighbor’s hose that I typically didn’t take (around the front instead of their backyard) and I just sort of stopped in their driveway and thought about something my mother had said to me that morning, that I would be starting pre-school in the fall and that soon I’d be enjoying the summer for more reasons than the warm sunny days. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but I was trying to process the whole idea of this school thing coming down the pike. When was fall? How long was that? It must be like forever and a day away because I swear it must have been like 10 years since the last Christmas, and that was in winter, so I guess I didn’t need to worry about school, it’s just too far away.
My other memory is of walking around a department store around the time that the Transformers movie had come out (I was eyeballing a Kup action figure on the shelf) and my sister and I were talking about school. She was bemoaning being a senior in high school, while I was cranky about being in the 4th grade. At the time I couldn’t imagine the progression to the 12th grade. I mean I’d just spent practically 9 years, my whole life, attaining the 4th grade, how could I possibly conceive spending another 8 year to get to the 12th grade?
In fact, thinking back, those years between ’87 and ’90 seemed like an eternity. I had just met a new friend, Peanut, who I hung out with all the time and it seemed like those three years comprised most of my life at the time. It didn’t hurt that there were a lot of changes, graduating from elementary school to middle school, beginning to ride the bus, getting into heavy metal for the first time, getting into comic book collecting, moving across country twice, getting into skateboarding, as well as seeing a handful of pivotal movies (stuff that I’ve kept close to my heart ever since like The Monster Squad, Transformers the Movie, Princess Bride, Die Hard, Near Dark, The Lost Boys, License to Drive, UHF, Robocop, Batman, just to name a few.)
Now I’m looking back and it’s 2007, 20 years since that school conversation with my sister in 87, 25 since before I started school and I can’t believe I’m that far past those times now. I guess at the end of the day everything is relative. Time seemed to pass so slowly because I had hardly anything to compare that passage to. Now I’ve got a good 30 years under my belt, so when a year seems to flit by it’s no big deal. Hell, a year is just the time I took off of school before going to college. A year is just the short amount of time I have to figure out what to get my friends and family at Christmas, or the time between visits to Chuck E. Cheese to play skee ball. Maybe I need to focus on stuff that I’m waiting for every year, stuff that never seems to come quick enough, like Halloween. Screw Christmas, I’m a Halloween guy. Maybe if every day I think fun Halloween thoughts it’ll make the years start to drag by. Probably not, but it’s worth a thought.