How Long is a Year?

I meant to do this post after Aiden’s first birthday in the middle of May… but then “summer just flew by… ”

I bet you have heard a version of that phrase more than once lately; a mom commenting about how she can’t believe that it’s already time for the school year to begin or a college student lamenting that summer ended too fast. I didn’t realize how much rhetoric we constantly hear about how fast time is flying until Aiden turned one. I felt as though I heard the following phrase a hundred times: “Can you believe how fast it goes by?!”

I remember hearing the same thing when I was about to get married. Well-meaning friends would say things like, “Don’t worry about the details. The day is a blur; you won’t remember much anyway!” I didn’t want that to be my experience. I set an intention to consciously slow down the day and savor each sweet moment. And I did. I loved my wedding day. It was one of the best days of my life. I took a yoga class that morning, enjoyed a delicious  burger and champagne with my friends, cherished the sacred vows I exchanged with my love, and thoroughly enjoyed the friends, family, food and dancing. I still remember the smell of the ocean air and the feel of the breeze and sunlight on my skin as I walked to the ceremony. I was high on life and pure love.

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Aiden’s first year

As I look back on the first year as a mom, I don’t feel that time has somehow flown by or that I have missed something I should have captured. I have been there with Aiden every day, and I have been intentional about being present for each moment. Yoga teachers talk a lot about being present. It’s almost a trendy topic. And one might get the idea that presence is something you cultivate on your yoga mat while wearing Lululemon and perfecting bird of paradise pose. While yoga can be a great tool for teaching us to be in the moment, I have not had any experience teach me this lesson the way motherhood has.

I am guilty of getting lost in the black hole of social media, entertainment, or online shopping. That time seems to disappear into thin air. Being glued to a screen can quickly take us away from the here and now, and I know I’ve used it to escape when life seems dull. But here’s an important exhortation to myself and to other new moms: Hold that little hand and look into those pure, innocent eyes when you are feeding your baby. Put your phone away. You want to make time fly by?! Surf the newsfeed on Facebook while your precious little one is in your arms, against your skin, close enough to kiss. I promise that you won’t read one thing that surpasses the importance of the bond and trust that is being developed with your little one.

This time never comes back. You won’t get these days again. I firmly believe in putting our child(ren) first and your career/job/hobby second. No, that doesn’t mean giving up your own thing; I think it just means keeping it in perspective and realizing that life has seasons. I’ve not once heard an older woman say, “I really wish I had spent more time at work and less time with my children.” I’ve always heard the opposite. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities when the routine tasks of life lull us into a coma. It’s easy to lose heart when we live in a society that undervalues a mother’s nurturing role. I’ve found for myself that it takes intention and effort to stay engaged and present.

Our words have so much power. I am making a conscious effort to stop saying things that reinforce the idea that there is not enough time. Time is not my enemy, and I don’t have to fight against it. This moment is all I have, and it is good. When I’m about to say, “I haven’t had time to do such-and-such”, I’m working at stopping myself and saying, “I haven’t chosen to do that.” I want to take more responsibly for my life experience rather than feeling like life is happening to me.

If you believe that time is flying by and you’re inevitably going to miss out on the sweet everyday moments, then you will certainly experience that. Being present requires surrender. It won’t always be easy, but I believe it is so worth it. You have a choice. Time isn’t going anywhere.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once
~ Albert Einstein

 

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1 thought on “How Long is a Year?

  1. Wow Grace…what a lovely glass of ice water on a steamy day! You hit all the high points of “Living Well” …for a life time!!! ( and the great pictures!) Thanks.

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