It’s About Time

Eternal_clockMy grandmother lived to 100. When she was in her early 90s she told me the older you get, the faster time flies. For her a year was like a second. I look forward to this when I have to suffer through yet another commercial for Progressive car insurance.

I’m only in my mid-40s and I’ve already noticed time has sped up considerably. One month it was Christmas, then a week later it was Christmas again. I’d be willing to bet no matter when you’re reading this post, it’s Christmas.

Time is relative. I never seem to have enough time to workout. The two hours of kid-free time I get in the morning before my first class lasts about 12 seconds. And for most of those seconds I’m struggling to put on my pants.

I know I should spend more time with Jillian Michaels, but by the time I’m done stuffing myself into my spandex, Jillian Michaels has suffered a tragic death at the nursing home after being crushed to death by her own trapezius muscles. What’s the point of working out then?

Death will find you. Oh yes, it will.
Death will find you, Jill. Oh yes, it will.

Yet I always have time for dinner. What the hell is going on there? Dinner at my house consists of us sucking down our food in a mad dash that lasts a grand total of about 3.5 seconds.

But the time that goes into planning dinner? Endless.

The time during the day I spend thinking about what the hell I’m going to have for dinner that night? The amount of time my husband and I talk about what we’re going to have for dinner that night? Eternity times forever squared.  It’s the one topic always on our minds.

“Oh, so the test came back negative? Terrific. What’s for dinner?”

“Oh, so the test came back positive?  Not good. What’s for dinner?”

“Hey honey — sorry I texted you a dozen times in the middle of your big important meeting but what’s for dinner tonight?”

“Right, the boss passed you up for a promotion due to your obnoxious texting habit during big important meetings. Bummer. Any thoughts on dinner?”

“Yeah, so you might be out of a job soon. We might have to foreclose on the house and you might be dying of a rare disease.  But are you thinking about dinner? What are we gonna have?”

Yes, dinner is coming up. Again. It’s always here! I bet no matter where you are right now reading this, it’s almost time for dinner. So it’s always time for dinner planning.

Every time it rolls around again I’m peeved. Didn’t we just go through this yesterday? How is it possible I’m sitting here thinking about it again? Great! Again with the food and the cooking and the fact we have to eat or we’ll die. 

My life is just an endless stream of dinners.

If I could just plan all my meals, then eat all my dinners for the entire week in one day, then I’d be happy. Free some time up for my spandex-stuffing marathons.

Time just goes by too fast, I can’t keep up. It never ceases to shock me. I always say the same thing to the clock when I notice time has flown: “Are you freaking kidding me? Really? I bent down to put on my slippers and three years went by?”

Then I ask, “Is it wrong I’m talking to the clock? Is this the first sign of dementia? Or the last? It’s probably the last…” Then I glance down at my watch and another decade went by while I was arguing out loud with the clock about the concept of time. Still, I never get any answers from the universe as to why time speeds up like this.

The universe is such an asshole.

It’s getting harder to accomplish any of my daily tasks, there’s no time to enjoy anything anymore. I try to be more zen, but how can I be “in the moment” when the moment insists on skipping ahead of me?

OK…so now I’m going to open this package of bacon for breakfast and HOLY SHIT IT’S TIME FOR BED ALREADY?

Anyway, I guess I’d better wrap things up now. I started writing this post this morning at 7 am. Once I got to this paragraph, I looked up at the clock and it was midnight on December 24, 2027.

Looks like I’d better start shopping for my grandkids’ gifts, huh.

Before I do, what the hell do you want for dinner tonight? I’m thinking pasta. No? You want chicken? Oh, no, we can’t do chicken.  I didn’t take out the meat to thaw yet. Hey, how about pasta? No? Chili? I like chili. With ground turkey? Ah, but I didn’t take out the turkey so….let’s have bacon.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Any thoughts on how I can slow down time? What works for you? Give me some ideas in the comments.

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126 thoughts on “It’s About Time

  1. I get cross about how much time meal planning takes. Particularly the shopping part of it. What I would like is for supermarkets to have an option where they just pick all your meals for you and select all the right ingredients, and just deliver it all to you, with the various ingredients and instructions all sectioned out by day, they even pick which day you will have what so that no decisions are needed. Probably during the initial set-up you fill out a questionnaire about likes and dislikes, but after that, they just do it every week, it’ll be fine, their choices will be fine. I hate all that deciding what to have, figuring out what to buy, buying it, then when I come to cook it realising I actually don’t have everything I need.

    1. That is the thing that bothers me. If I want to cook a meal, it’s finding all the right ingredients. Then using the ingredients before they go bad. I have the best intentions, I’ll get everything, but then I don’t have time to make the meal and end up eating cereal for dinner.

  2. haha it’s always christmas – so true. but really, every year, we’re like wow, it’s school time again and a minute later, we’re all – schools out. time’s a bitch, but hey we want as many dinners – and desserts – as possible.

  3. I’ve watched every episode of “How the Universe Works” and “Through the Wormhoie”, some of them twice. Not to mention I have the late Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” series on DVD. I could have saved all that time and money. You summed up the meaning of it all so succinctly with “The Universe is an Asshole”. You are the Stephen Hawking of WordPress!

      1. I’ll have to check out that “through the wormhole” show. Wonder if it’s as good as “through the wormhoie”? (Just noticed my typo)

  4. I hear ya! I used to spend all my free time in the pub and weekends used to last forever with all the adventures that resulted. Now I finish work Friday and am back here Monday morning not knowing what happened to the weekend, it just went and nothing happened.

    When people say they wish they were 21 again or whatever, we are not jealous of youth, looks, their lack of man boobs. I am happier in my skin now, I just want the extra time that seemingly existed back then.

  5. Snoring Dog Studio

    I despise meal planning. It takes up so much damn time. I never had to do it until my Mom moved in with me — not that she’d object to eating cereal three times a day, with donuts as snacks. But I have to be a responsible caregiver, so that means a balanced diet. I think my mom could balance a bag of Dove chocolates on her nose. Here’s where I benefit in comparison to you, Darla – my mom’s short-term memory is very bad, so I could serve her the same thing many days in a row and she’d probably not notice. But then, I’ve got all these ingredients lying around…

    1. There is nothing better than breakfast for dinner (brinner). You know, I do tend to eat the same things a lot. We basically rotate a small number of meals and pretend it’s new. “Hey, I know! I’ll serve pasta! But this time I’ll use the garlic spaghetti sauce!” If I had my way, I’d eat the same thing every single meal.

  6. emisformaker

    For me, I find the following strategies work pretty well:
    – Pre-cook as many things as possible before freezing. That way, thawing becomes part of the re-heating process, and results in fewer deaths.
    – Keep dried lentils and/or peas around. I don’t actually enjoy eating them, but they make a quick meal when necessary, and are slightly better for you than pasta.
    – Try to make far more than you’ll eat in one sitting. Leave the extra as leftovers for eating as-is, or for incorporating into a new-ish thing; or freeze the extra for another time.
    – Do a bunch of prep upon arriving home from the store. It sucks and you won’t want to, but an extra bit of time on your feet to get a bunch of celery washed, cut up and put away means it gets eaten/used instead of thrown away. Plus, when you finally sit down (or whatever), you’ll appreciate it more.
    – Don’t guilt yourself for ‘cheater’ meals or for letting the family feed themselves. There were times when my mum didn’t feel like cooking, and those nights were ‘fend for yourselves’ time – full of sammiches, cereal, or boxed mac n’ cheese. No one died, and mum got much-needed brain rest.
    If you ever run short of inspiration, you can check out my blog on a Friday – that’s when I post stuff about food, including recipes that are typically simple, one-pot affairs (when they’re not about dessert). Good luck!

    1. Leftovers save me. I try to make extra batches of stuff so we can eat it a few days in a row. My gram did that because money was tight. She’d make chicken, then they’d have chicken or soup all week. Takes a lot of stress off figuring out what to have anyway.

  7. The only thing that slows it down for me is breaking routine, but you have to put on socks to get outside your home and there seems to be some kind of strange vortex residing there.

  8. Fear slows down the clock. If there is something you are terrified of, something you just want to get through, get behind you, well then the c-l-o-c-k t-i-c-k-s e-v-e-r s-o s–l–o–w–l–y.

    Also when you’re hungry and just want your damn pasta to get to el dente time goes really slowly, and then, one minute before pasta perfection, the clock speeds up and your pasta is paste.

    1. Damn el dente. Gets me every time. When I cooked as a kid, I used to throw the spaghetti at the wall to see if it’d stick. Then I’d forget to take the spaghetti off the wall and a year later there would be these cemented strands embedded in the paint. Yeah, I’m not a good cook.

  9. I almost didn’t take time to comment, but I said to the clock, “sloooooow down a minute” and it did. But just for a minute. So, I guess that’s what we must do, take time, just take it. Snatch it like the thief that it is. Funny post, Darla. Time and time again you bring home the bacon with most excellent wit.

  10. This is great! The only way I feel that I’m able to slow time down is to be more organized…which does not come naturally to me. Sunday is meal planning day, Monday is clean the bathroom day…etc, etc. But I only have one baby right now, so it may be easy for me to say!

    1. This is my problem, I am not organized enough. I’ve always tended to be more haphazard about things. I don’t do certain things on certain days. My husband is great at that stuff but I’m the opposite. I’m lucky I can load the dishwasher.

  11. OH MY GOD do I hate DINNER! It takes over our lives. My first thought when I wake up in the morning after, Who beat me up while I was sleeping, is – WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO MAKE FOR DINNER TONIGHT!!

    A few weeks ago Mr. Brickhouse and I were childless for a whole week and that was heavenly! We didn’t have to think, plan, plot, prepare or serve! We just took it day by day and mostly went out. Now, THAT’S living la vida loca and buena!

    Wish I had solutions for you besides telling you to wait until your kids are out of the house and wear only spandex yoga pants.

    1. Yay for you and Mr. Brickhouse! (that is the best nickname EVER) The only saving grace for me is our upcoming trip to Disney World when all our meals will be taken care of, no cooking, no cleaning. It will be heaven to me.

  12. Melanie

    I actually made bacon for dinner last night. Just bacon. A whole plate of joyful deliciousness, and I washed it down with a cold beer. Best Sunday night ever!

    1. I am seriously sitting here drooling right now. Mostly over the idea of having a cold beer. I wonder if it’s possible to only have beer for my meal tonight….the darker brews are very filling…

  13. Ugh – the dinner conversation. Every. Single. Day. I’m thinking turkey burgers tonight. But that means I need to remember to take the ground turkey out. So we will probably end up with pizza or sushi.

  14. Three Time Loser

    Oooh! Chili. I have chili! In the freezer! And bacon! Bacon in the freezer! (And I think Jillian Michaels looks perpetually angry – maybe she would lighten up if someone would feed her some bacon? Just sayin’ all those years of not eating bacon can’t be good for a person…)

  15. The one thing I don’t have time for is exercise, so Jillian can go to hell. But, god, do I ever have time to eat. Suppose that’s why I’ve threatened to get rid of the mirrors in our house. I have no idea how to slow time down or even create move of it. Life’s a bitch, and for all I know, I’m already dead.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    1. hahaha!! Oh my god, you are killing me here. I love how you said “Life’s a bitch and for all I know, I’m already dead” then follow it up with “hugs from Ecuador”. Kathy, you just made my morning.

      1. I was JUST going to comment on the same thing. PRICELESS COMMENT, KATHY!!

        PS, Darla: I don’t know how to speed up or slow down time, but I do know that we’re having Indian food for dinner tonight. God bless curry.

  16. Thank goodness you already have the bacon thawed from this morning/2 seconds ago so you’ll have something to feed your unemployed, homeless, dying husband.

    I don’t care about dinner because I don’t cook anymore now that the kids are out of the house. What I want to know is why, since I never cook, I have a ton of dirty dishes all the time, and nowhere to put them because I have to empty the dishwasher every 13 minutes. I’m not exaggerating. There’s some wrinkle in the rolling stone of time that is gathering moss right in the middle of my dishwasher. As soon as I unload it, it magically refills itself. It is AL-ways full of clean dishes at the moment I have dirty ones to put in there.

    1. It is a mystery. My dishwasher is always full of dirty dishes, the dryer always has half-damp clothes, the washer is always full of wet clothes. I’m praying once the kids are in college this will all magically disappear but I think I’m in denial.

      1. You’ll soon hit the sweet spot where you can make THEM empty all the above appliances. Whoo hoo! Then you get used to them doing it (I didn’t empty the dishwasher for 8 years) and when they’re gone – dang! Where did all these damn dishes come from?

  17. Ah yes, the conversation about what’s for dinner. I have discovered this setting on my microwave called turbo defrost. No, it doesn’t defrost snails- well, I suppose it could. I actually figured out how to use it so I can now make that chili with ground turkey when it’s a solid frozen block. And when my chicken breasts are also solid frozen, this defrost setting is a fabulous thing. I actually like to defrost them part way and then cut up the meat into chunks when it’s still partly frozen. Cook them up in a big frying pan with seasoning salt and serve with whatever’s left over for sides (pasta, rice, potatoes, veggies, salad, whatever).

    As for how to slow down time, get a 2 year old with “issues” who melts down at least 4-5 times every single day. Your day will go so slowly that it will drag on for several years.

    1. I really need to use my microwave more. You’re right about the two year old meltdowns. one thing in my life that slows down time? Trying to comb out my daughter’s tangles before school in the morning. That takes an eternity and a half.

  18. Honestly, you’re asking for advice, but you’re already eating bacon. What more can I add?

    P.S. – I hope it’s okay that I bring Uncle Jesse tonight for your Christmas Eve party.

  19. I remember when I was a teenager and my mother would ask me in the morning before school, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” I would roll my eyes in the most sarcastic manner possible, and I’d say, “How in the world do I know what I want for dinner tonight?” I mean, for a teenager years would have elapsed before dinnertime.

    But of course now that I”m older I realize that for my mom, dinner came around about 3 minutes after breakfast ended.

    1. That’s what blows my mind. I remember as a teen I’d think days would never end. I remember endless hours stretching before me. I’d get bored all the time. I wish to god I could have the time to be bored now.

  20. Homemade hummus or pizza with all your leftovers on top…or leftover frozen already prepared lasagna or stuffed chicken or….I know what you mean but if you cook enough one night you can eat it for three or four days, just not consecutive days. I found this funny!

    1. I do try to cook one thing and stretch it out over several days. I guess my main problem is I’m not a cook and I hate cooking. Homemade hummus sounds divine though. I might have to try making that. I eat hummus on a daily basis.

  21. Would it help if I cooked you guys a dinner? I’m an awesome cook, if I do say so myself.

    But yes, time slips. It’s like Slaughterhouse Five. Slipping through time. I find that it all slows down the more wine I drink… which explains a lot. Or nothing. I’m not sure which.

    The universe is such an asshole. Yup. But the rest of it looks nice to me. Peace, my friend.

  22. I am sure my niece was wondering what the hell I was laughing at and why my head was popping up and down like it was on a spring or something, but I so get what you mean about time and dinner. I can’t believe it is March already, it will be Kelli’s birthday in less than two weeks.

  23. Its about time indeed. About time that we lived our lives not as per other’s expectations but on our own terms. About time that we mustered the conviction not to conform. Be it to plan meals or anything else. About time we lived as many moment of our life in appreciation of all that we have rather than in fear of what others would find out about all that we do not have……

    Reading your lovely post, my thoughts trailed away like that. Am I being relevant?

    Shakti

    1. I’m trying to retrain myself to let things go, whether it’s meal planning or stressing about little things. I think the fact time speeds up is teaching me to live in the moment because I know my life will be passed before I know it.

  24. I laughed HARD at this. But, really, you have a family and are in med school–you’re already running on negative time.

    As for dinner, I write down three easy meals every week, go shop for them, and know those are my choices. Like stir-fry, pizza, chili. I can make the first two several times during the week and chili lasts for days. Easy is the key word.

    Hey, where’s the plaid?

    1. Yes, easy is my mantra. I love chili and stuff that goes in the crock pot for this reason. We tend to eat the same basic few meals every week too. I barely have time to take a shower anymore so something’s gotta give.

      The plaid was hurting my eyes and I tend to get migraines so I switched themes (for the billionth time) I swear to god if I ever find a theme I’m satisfied with I’ll die happy.

  25. Every Whovian on the planet knows the answer to the time conundrum: “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff.”
    (I couldn’t resist. But really, it explains a lot, doesn’t it?) 😉

  26. I blame information overload (thus the internet and particularly social media) for the black hole time has become. One of your commenters said they beat the clock by changing the routine. I think that is an excellent idea! I find that the less time I spend on the computer, the more time I feel like I have! Even TV doesn’t seem to steal time away from me like the internet! But then, I did turn 50 yesterday, so time is likely just zooming by now with no hope of a slow-down. 😥

    1. [gasp] So what you’re saying is I should stop blogging?! Surely you jest….I’m kidding, I could never do that. But you’re right, I have basically abandoned facebook and have added about 8 hours to my day.

  27. This weekend, I got a 3 day reprieve from the dinner question/conversation. I handed my kids off to the in laws and jetted off to somewhere warm and wonderful. The hubs planned 2 of our 3 dinners out to fancy restaurants, and we did take out the other night. It was marvelous. The fact that the entire 3 day weekend only lasted 2.9 seconds and I’m already back at work doesn’t help much, but oh those 2.9 seconds. They were heaven.

  28. In all honesty, I am a list maker.. Sunday nights I sit down and I plan all my meals for the week. The key to that is sticking to it, no ifs ands or buts. My favorite appliance is my crock pot. I call my dump and go..So I make a lot of crock pot meals which saves a lot of my time. If I do make other types of meals I may double the amount and freeze it. This way I always have something in my freezer I can pull out. As for my lists, each morning or night before I sit down and make a list of things I’d like to get done the next day and I check each off as I finish it. Sometimes I get to everything sometimes I don’t.. I also think it comes down to self discipline. Instead of me being on Facebook, wasting time on endless YouTube videos I make time for what I REALLY would like to do and then if there’s time left for other things good, and if not so be it.. It all comes down to self discipline really 🙂

  29. I can’t keep up with my dinner planning either. I postpone it in the morning, thinking I’ll do it while shopping for it, which then never happens as I am busy doing other things… And planning ahead doesnt work either, by Tuesday I forgot about it and so I forget to take out the stuff out of the freezer and …. Yes, we have the exact same conversations you do…

    1. Sigh. It surely is, Val. The good thing about time slipping away the older I get is I’m also beginning to really appreciate just being alive because I know it will be over before I know it. (that came out sounding much more negative than I intended)

      1. There is a great deal of joy in every single day being able to kick that rare bitch in the proverbial, believe me. Even if that kick is coming as you slip on the banana peel and fall on your own.

        😉

      2. Exactly!! Thank you for that comment. Not to go into things too much but I’m going through major transitions in my life right now and most of them are pretty difficult. But there really IS great satisfaction in still pushing through that fear of the unknown in life and saying screw it, I’m going to be happy anyway no matter what.

        I just read in a book about meditation to imagine yourself as a mountain. The inner core of that mountain is at always at peace, which is our true nature. It doesn’t matter what’s going on at the surface of the mountain, whether stormy or sunny. But the inside remains solid and pure and true.

        I have no idea why I’m sharing this with you. ha! Guess I’m contemplative early this morning…

  30. The time runs too fast? Tell me about it! I read this post when it was just posted on Monday morning and only had a few comments, and by the time I make it to the comment box it’s Saturday night????
    Oh well, Merry Christmas! And happy birthday! And a Merry following Christmas.

  31. Spot on, Darla. For kids, time drags. They’re always waiting for the next best thing: their birthday, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer vacation. For me, the year is over before it even began. And … oh! Look at the time. I’m late. I’m late for a very important date.

  32. Freaking dinner. It’s always coming up – you are so right.

    I would say that time drags depending on the company I keep. For instance, if I’m in a room surrounded by bores, time moves so slowly that I almost feel as if I’m getting younger. And getting younger isn’t worth doing THAT time.

    1. Very true. I still manage to get bored and time comes to a standstill. This is how I feel when I’m suffering through my four hour long Medical Coding and Insurance Billing class at night. I swear I’m about a decade younger when it’s over.

    1. I HATE washing the crockpot. Nothing is worse than washing the crockpot. Except maybe washing the muffin tin. That job is also hellacious. I’m not that keen on the cookie sheet, either. Or the wok, the George Forman or the cast iron skillet.

      Would it surprise you to know that every pan I own is currently dirty and artfully stacked next to my sink? Didn’t think so.

  33. When I want to slow down time, I make an appointment with the dental hygienist. While she’s scraping my teeth with her box cutter and stabbing me in the gums with the Phillips head screwdriver, every second feels like an hour. Merry Christmas, Darla.

  34. Love it my personal mantra for this year is from the book “The Happiness Project” ‘The Days are long but the Years are short.’ Oh and on your comment above about meditating that your are a mountain and your center is calm? Most mountains are very active in their core, if they are volcano they have lava and are building steam to erupt and if they are uplift then there are two continental plates being slammed together, are there other sorts of mountains that are calm in the center to me this is a weird image that they gave you.

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