It doesn't seem possible that another year has crept upon us already. Good grief, where did the year go? It seems just yesterday I was interviewing Uncle Spud about his predictions for 2008. And it seems only last week we were eating Thanksgiving dinner and only last month the kids were starting back to school. Somehow, the whole world is on fast-forward. Something strange is going on here.
Am I the only person who has noticed that the days are getting shorter? They really are. When I was a kid, a day lasted a long time. The time between breakfast and lunch was so long I would almost starve to death waiting for the school lunch bell to ring. An hour in Mrs. Holbrook's English class lasted an eternity. And after school, when the day was finally done, I had time to do my chores, run an errand or two for my mother, and still explore a couple of miles of the Price River wilderness with my old dog before it got dark. Today, the time between Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly is so short I have to hurry to make my obligatory stop at Wal-Mart before it gets dark. I don't seem to have time for anything else.
I was talking this over with Uncle Spud the other day and he said the days really are getting shorter and he has figured out why. He claims the world is experiencing a time warp. According to him, the time warp is caused by too many people cramming too many things into a single day. He says that when you stuff too many things into a day it makes the day bulge out in the middle like an old guy with a fat belly and that causes the ends of the day to pull closer together, making them shorter. It sounds reasonable to me because I've experienced the same thing with my squatty body as I've gotten older. Shorter, fatter days mean we have less time in a week and less time in a month. No wonder the years are zooming by so quickly.
So what can be done?
Uncle Spud says we've got to take some things out of our day to make the day thinner in the middle and longer at the ends. He suggests we dump things like watching too much TV, making unnecessary trips to town, and spending so much time with cell phones screwed into our ears. And we need to cut down on extracurricular activities and spend more time sitting on the porch watching the world go by. We were a happier, friendlier nation when we spent more time at home and less time going somewhere all of the time.
Some of our poor little kids spend half of their lives strapped to a car seat. Our children need more time at home where they can be comfortable and properly cared for. We shouldn't clutter their lives with so many piano lessons, soccer matches, little league, clogging, and drama classes that they never have time to be kids. The little ones need longer, thinner, and happier days, too.
We need to purge the trivial and unnecessary things in our lives and spend more time accomplishing things of substance. Read a book, paint a picture, bake a cake. Take night classes at the college. Make a quilt, plant a garden, or volunteer to help with a worthy cause. And make more time for the important things. Talk to your children, visit your parents, be nice to the neighbors, and go to church - any church.
And when things get stupid, take time to go for a walk. Walking is good for your heart and your mental well-being. Walking changes the air in your head. We need a big dose of fresh air to our brains once in a while. Look up at the sky and see the glorious sunsets you haven't noticed for so long. Turn off the TV and take time to ponder the night sky and the depths of the universe. Make popcorn and share it with someone you love.
If we do these things, Uncle Spud promises that our days will be thinner and longer and our lives will be less cluttered and more meaningful. Time is not rigid and unyielding. We really can bend it to suit our needs.