Inhabitant of Time


Time passes. The ticking clock, the flowing river, the cascading waterfall, no matter how you experience it, there is movement and change happening all around, and it is measured in seconds, hours, centuries. Time.

I recently read in a museum exhibit’s description, “We can’t stop the passing of time, but we can inhabit it.” How does time inhabit me? As a woman, I’m often  bewildered by the aesthetic betrayals of time. The smile wrinkles around my mouth, a looseness around my knees. My body has absorbed patterns over time and incorporated them into who I am: my tight jaw and shoulders come from years of clamming up in response to the various stimuli of the world.

If time is something that runs around me, I can only see what it has taken as it passes by. As an inhabitant of time, however, I can see what I’ve gained. And there is so much to be gained through aging! An appreciation of myself, for one. It’s a small example, but I noticed yesterday that, as I had always feared, my face flushes pink whenever anyone talks to me, regardless of the intensity of the interaction. I know this because I was attempting to paint a self portrait, and was looking at my face in the mirror every few minutes. Whenever the instructor or another student came by to ask a question or to make a suggestion, my face became pink. I’ve always suspected this, and my transparent awkwardness used to make me so embarrassed that I would become even pinker and more flustered. Now, I just think that I am charming the way I am, and I let my face blaze with my halfway tamed social anxiety. Self acceptance is so much more satisfying than smooth knee skin.

How do you inhabit time? How have you improved with time?