429. Tempus Fugit?

One of the ideas adults like to think of as wisdom is the idea of the brevity of life, together with the importance of taking things slowly: “Time flies.” “This, too, shall pass.” “Look before you leap.” “All good things take time.” That’s easy for us to say. But I’m not sure it counts as wisdom. It’s just our perspective, and maybe it can’t be translated into the language of those who are much younger than we
are. For some of them, it seems as if hardly any good things take time; taking time, in and of itself, isn’t good.
I remember how long a minute used to be. It had sixty long seconds. Sixty of them! A lot of childhood is spent rushing around, but a lot of it is also spent waiting, wishing things would hurry up and happen. That can be true of adulthood, too, but for me, at least, it feels very different. A decade no longer seems like a very long time. I’ve already had about five of them, and I hope to have about five more, but the only ones that seemed long were the first two. They took forever. And I don’t think there was much wisdom in the advice I got about being patient and slowing down. I wasn’t patient at all, and slowing down? That would have prolonged my agony!
Now I’ve slowed down, and I’m more patient, but I still remember. I did some things that I now think were foolish, but I didn’t think so when I did them, and though some people were telling me I was being foolish, and would live to regret my decisions and actions, I couldn’t really hear them. And the children and young adults I know who are now making important decisions about their lives may or may not be able to hear the advice of their elders. And even if they do hear, that advice may or may not sound relevant to them. There are plenty of adults around, and they often contradict each other as they give advice.
I now enjoy my patience. It’s nice, when what I want doesn’t happen right away, to feel okay about waiting. I know time will pass, and I can do other stuff while I’m waiting. But I don’t think that that patience can be handed over to younger people as wisdom. I may write or say words about what’s going on for me now, but I try not to tell other people that what’s going on for me ought to be going on for them. That approach didn’t work on me, and I don’t think it’ll work on many young people.
So here’s my advice for adults who want children, teenagers, and young adults to hurry up and become more patient: be patient. They may not be very good at waiting now. They may be leaping now, perhaps planning to look when they get around to it. But they’ll come around. All good things take time.

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