Is Time On My Side?


How Does Time Affect Me?

By Jeff Salter

For some reason, this week the old Rolling Stones song has been in my mind: “Time is on my side.” Though, having passed the age that Medicare enrolled me, I’ll have to admit that time is actually NO LONGER on my side. In other words, I’m on the downhill slope. Difficult to discuss time without factoring in one’s age, you know.

Time is a funny thing.


This resembles the clock that sat on top of my family’s upright piano during most of my childhood years.

When I was a kid, and we were on our way to something enjoyable (like swimming, for example), it always seemed to take FOREVER to get there. Yet, on the return trip – same distance – we arrived home in just a matter of speedy moments.

When I was age 14, it took (what seemed like) six years before I turned 15 and could apply for my learner’s permit to drive.

In the late spring of my senior year in high school, after I’d taken all the tests, written all the papers, and there were perhaps a dozen (or fewer) days remaining until graduation night… that period was an eternity.

When I went into Air Force Basic Training, our six weeks training period was very rigidly divided into 42 days of class, exercise, drill, and testing. And, of course, marching from event to event. When we finally completed that first grueling day, we knew we still had 41 to go. And the remainder of the course slowly – glacially – ground down until there were only a handful of days left to endure. And those final days – despite a slightly lighter workload and considerably less harassment by the drill instructors – seemed longest.

Also in my military hitch was my 12-month overseas tour to Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland, above the Arctic Circle. Those first few days (and weeks) of that tour seemed not only interminably long, but I realized I still had hundreds more to go before I could rotate to a new assignment, stateside.

I also recall that long wait for our firstborn. The doctors say pregnancy lasts nine months, but to me it seemed more like two years. “When is that baby gonna be born?” I’d ask my wife. [And in those days (1971), the ladies did NOT get all the ultrasounds and other tests which determine gender and healthy formation.]

All those examples are merely to illustrate that for many stages of my early life, time appeared to move slowly — horribly slowly. But since I took an early retirement from the public library profession – over 10 years ago – I’ve found myself on a different clock. Now time races by.

Funny thing about retirement. There used to be a cultural sense that when a person retired – unless they had specific plans and interests to pursue – that they’d just sit around and vegetate in a state of unrelenting boredom. Later, retirement came to be seen as that opportunity to do stuff you couldn’t do before. When I worked full-time and retired people would tell me how busy they were, I felt like calling them liars. But now that I’m one of them, I can honestly attest, I feel busy all day, every day, and the weeks zoom past my eyes in a blur. Two of my weekly days which have their own fixed, external schedules are Church on Sunday and Senior Discount grocery Thursday with Mom. Each week, it seems, when I realize the next morning is either Thursday or Sunday, I say to myself, “Already? The last one was only ten minutes ago.”

Anyway, as a retired librarian (and presently “full-time” author), I feel time speeding by me. Weeks seem like days, days seem like hours, and hours seem like minutes. I look at my grandkids and remember it was “just yesterday” that their parents (my offspring) were merely children of that same age. Where did all that time go? Can a complete generation race past me with the speed of an action movie car chase?

My siblings and I sometimes commiserate about age, and how much nearer we are to the numbers provided by insurance company’s actuarial tables of life expectancy. Gosh, I never imagined I’d be this old. Heck, I still remember being in grammar school and noting how “OLD” those first year teacher were!

I guess a good way to show the juxtaposition of time (then) and time (now) is this: When I worked full time, my days crawled by slowly and I’d be thinking, “when is this week EVER gonna be over?” But in my retired years, I look up at a calendar and say, “is February gone already? Where did it go? What happened?”


Is time on your side?

[JLS # 322]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Is Time On My Side?

  1. jbrayweber says:

    Nope. Time is not on my side. It’s evident in my kids. My oldest seems to be growing up so fast. OMG, she’ll be driving this year. Nooooo! By comparison, my youngest is just in first grade. I want her to stay there, darn it! Both kids take up loads of time with their activities. With editing and my own writing, volunteering, and the kids, oh, and keeping up with chores and bills, I’m squeezing so much in so little time that seems to be racing by. I swear that’s what’s causing my hair to turn gray. And I’m only 40 something!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’ve always felt time goes quickly – except when I’m trying to get somewhere in a hurry! I suppose that’s because I’ve always had a lot on my plate. I don’t remember my feelings about time when I was young – guess I was too happy with the way things were. Gotta agree with you about the kids and grandkids – our youngest grandkids are 3 and 6, and it seems just yesterday that our girls were at those ages!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      yeah, must be some scientific axiom: the more in a hurry we are, the slower time creeps by. “Are we there yet?”


  3. When I was little I remember feeling like time crawled. Now that I have kids of my own and my oldest is getting ready to graduate I feel like time goes by too quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not at all! I know my youth went too fast, my kids grew up too fast, but the grandkids! HOW in Heaven’s name can the YOUNGEST be 10??? And the oldest is a teenager??? It’s incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sharon ruffy says:

    you sure described time passing for me. and i am 68 1/2 lol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s