The Speed of Life

How did it get so late so soon? – Dr. Seuss

A Gigasecond (one billion seconds) ago, I became a single father. My kids were 7, 5 and 3 years old. I measured each day differently after that. If we are lucky like my Dad we may have three gigaseconds to live our life the best ways we can. These days, our 21st Century tech-enhanced lives are measured in nanoseconds – a billionth of a second. That is the distance light travels in a foot – one light foot. The world around us is illuminated by reflected light. And so for every foot away something is, it is also a nanosecond in the past. Because of these infinitesimal measurements of time, in effect, we are always time traveling away from Now. And our perceptions create the tempo – the speed of life. Speed equals distance traveled over time elapsed.

The speed of light is well documented 299,792,458 meters a second. But the speed of light changes depending on the medium the light must travel through. Under the right conditions, light can actually slow down and stop. In the same way, your lifetime must travel through your perceptions. How you perceive your life, helps to determine how you live your life. But what is the speed of life? Or more importantly, what is the speed of your life?

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”Hunter S. Thompson

Are you feeling stressed out, anxious or nervous? Far too many people put a “To Do” list or events on their Daily Planner ahead of actually living. But being “busy” and having no so-called “spare time” wreaks havoc on our sense of fulfillment. People tell themselves there aren’t enough hours in a day. We each have the same number of hours, minutes (1440) and seconds (86,400) in a day, until one day – we don’t. But what you do with this finite time defines the pages of your life story. In the end, the last grain of time will fall, and the echo of the final heartbeat will fade away. Our spirits will depart this world for the next great adventure. What will you leave behind – a neatly organized pile of projects, lists of completed job duties? Right now, how would you define a well lived life? Are you moving towards that?

Sunrise Salutation Chill

My daughter and I used to wander through cemeteries placing flowers on untended graves and saying peoples names aloud – to give their memory a spark. I never once saw a gravestone with the words manager, or supervisor carved into them. There’s never been a grave marker with the words, he always filed his reports on time. Those job duties are part of how you earn a living. Think of the meaning of that phrase for a second. Earn a living Maybe that phrase is at the core of so much stress these days. It can feel like you are not entitled to a decent life unless you work harder to earn it. What if, no matter how hard you work to earn it, you never reach that path leading to the well-lived life? We cannot know ahead of time how many ticks of the clock we have. But as we become more self-actualized, we begin to live authentically.

As a single dad for so long, I knew I would never have the lifestyle of the people I worked with. To be “successful” in the traditional work-related sense, I would have had to sacrifice something far more precious than a fatter paycheck – time with my kids. Now, starting my third gigasecond, I don’t regret one second of time spent with my angels. Mature parents will always tell new parents, enjoy the kids when they are young, because they grow up fast. We feel this deep in our hearts. Each of us have experienced the seemingly endless days of summer as a child. Seconds, minutes, hours all blended together to form a gray haze on the distant horizon of school starting.

To become mindful of our authentic selves, we have to adjust our internal clocks to slow things down; to “stop and smell the roses” and appreciate the beauty of life. As the end nears, people face a spiritual reckoning. Perhaps it comes in a brief “my life passed before my eyes” moments. Or the recounting and remembering takes place over months or years. In the end, we all must take a measure of our lives. There are so many ways to measure your life. Whichever way you choose, slow down the speed of your life and let the positive light shine through.

Published by cewheeler

Writer/Artist:12 years in China – univ. lecturer: writing,poetry,culture; editor – magazine/newspaper & actor. 40 years students of the Tao. Traveler. Father. Read my books at:

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