Inch closer to that person you adore so they can suck the oxygen straight out of your solar system, because you said it all along: you wanted to be left breathless at the end of this.

The lesson cracked and sizzled as it rose up from the ground, making me wonder why it sometimes takes burying someone else deep in the dirt to learn the Hard Lesson in life.

My mother did not even speak the lesson out loud until a few weeks after the funeral of her mother but I heard it there first. Standing beside her slumping shoulders while bagpipes in the distance played Danny Boy, inhaling and exhaling the deep tragedy of the morning into their robust pipes.

Time will be a lot of things to you,” my mother told me delicately. I want to say she told me this delicately.  “But it will never be your best friend.

I still knew even with her advice, Gaping and Big before me, that I would spend many years of my life trying to pin Time down to wring friendship bracelets around its scrawny little wrists.

Trust me, I know how to wring sweet juices from the concept of Time. My office is right next to Rachel Ray’s NYC studio; she juices up carrots and celery while I am right beside her, separated by a few brick walls, churning through seconds and minutes. I know how to be so efficient with Time that I can manage interviews within three time zones as I write several articles on different deadlines, all while catching up with friends via text message and slugging a monstrous coffee. I am beyond multitasking.  I am as much of a pro with eight tasks at one time as Kate Gosselin is with her children (for the record: I happen to be Team Kate).

I can email you a spreadsheet in five minutes but have I carved out enough time to spread my fingers wide open so yours can fit inside?

That is the question that runs around like a rambunctious Gosselin child inside of my soul these days, riling up anxiety and more questions. Evolving into a gaping hole that you think the NYC transit lines should stop running trains for in order to do emergency construction: Am I doing this right? Am I living this right?

For this question, my friends, I believe there is no time. No time to mull over answers. No time to rethink. No time to process. No time to question. No time to fifty/fifty the odds or poll out to the audience.

Only time to shift what needs shifting, change what needs changing, live out what still needs living, and haul forward. Rip that rearview mirror from the side of the car and just look straight ahead at the two parallel lines that lead you home or somewhere like it.

Time can be such a showy, boisterous little thing. Teasing you with endless tomorrows before morphing ever so suddenly into something that you cannot catch with your butterfly net.  Suddenly, so suddenly, you are down on hands and knees looking for minutes and seconds like lost keys in the mud. Like Pennies On The Ground. Like Sequins Left Behind on the Ballet Classroom Floor.

Don’t grow up too fast, you want to yell. Don’t leave me behind, you want to scream. Stay here, right here, for forever or an eternity or something like that. The Words We Never Seem to Find When All Signs Point to the Moment Being Right.

But when it slips, when its going-going-gone, then we learn the very lessons our mothers fed to us one morning as a stunning lady laid down to rest in a coffin below the ground.

Time will be a lot of things to you, but it will never be your best friend.

And though we cannot declare Time to be a BFFL to us, and it makes no sense to wage war on the hands of the clock, its better that we hold out for the things that time cannot touch. The moments that leave us believing we can rip clocks off the wall to stay, stay, stay for five more minutes.

Don’t curse the five minutes. Take it. Use it. Wring the life from it.

Make to-do lists combust and little boxes with color coding run together like watercolor paint left stranded in the rain.

Inch closer to the person that you so adore so they can suck the oxygen straight out of your solar system, because you said it all along: you wanted to be left breathless at the end of this.

Squeeze hands tight. Hug even tighter. Leave grandfathers blue in the face and little babies with swollen fingers from your love pronounced through touching.

And don’t look back, a good friend will tell you on a rainy Wednesday morning that we actually can never look back. All that we need is forward. All that we dropped must be abandoned for the moment that shines before us.

Perhaps we planted seeds in our coming and going, but there is no time to wait and see. We can hold some hope but not time.

Like I said, we are not waging war. And we aren’t declaring friendship either. But we should probably pay attention to Time this time around. Because whether we heard it or not, she promised she would run out on us and she also told us sternly that she doesn’t make promises that contain the word “forever” inside of them.


14 thoughts on “Inch closer to that person you adore so they can suck the oxygen straight out of your solar system, because you said it all along: you wanted to be left breathless at the end of this.

  1. We cannot see tomorrow, so we must only worry about what’s here and now, and if that’s making us happy–then it’s a pretty worth while moment.

    HOWEVER, I am so proud of you and your future, because I know it’s starting today. Big things are in store for you. Huge things.

    P.S. The hug even tighter line made me laugh–and we know why!

  2. Lovely as usual Hannah!

    Time rushes by or so it seems. There used to be a Kodak commercial from many years ago with the Harry Belafonte et al song Turn Around. Here is the first stanza:

    Where are you going
    My little one, little one
    Where are you going
    My baby, my own
    Turn around and you’re two
    Turn around and you’re four
    Turn around and you’re a young girl
    Going out of the door
    My mother always said, “I don’t know where the time goes.”

    Life whizzes by so fast that you need to get out of the line marching toward the cliff of conformity as quick as possible before you miss your life marching to someone else’s beat …

    thx, g.

  3. I’ve always been in a battle with time. Even as I read this, trying to spend a moment to relax and absorb the Hannah Katy lesson of the day, I am thinking of the millions of things I should be doing. Time, and the lack thereof, taints my thoughts of creativity and introspection. It’s a shame. I need to change it.

    I loved the image of wrestling time to the ground, trying to tie a friendship bracelet around its wrist.

    How do you do it, Hannah? Knowing that you have so much you want to do but cannot possibly catch up and that it might, very likely, continue like this for years and years? I thought busy would be until the beginning of May, but now I think it bleeds into the summer and into next fall and next spring and then graduation and the rest of my life, endlessly running away.

    1. I think the biggest lesson I have learned through all the go-go-go, which probably won’t stop anytime soon, is that it will never be worth it unless you love what you are doing. If its just tasks upon tasks and they serve no purpose then running from place to place seems absolutely miserable…

      Often I stop to look at my life and all I am doing and I ask myself: why? Why do you go to the gym at 5am? Why are you having coffee every morning? Why are you doing this job? If I cannot answer the question then I know something has to change…

      And I have found that when you stockpile the things you love, and you vow to treat each one right, it all meshes together into a beautiful, chaotic life.

      1. Oh and PS. I also cannot manage life beyond five minutes… I section things out into five minutes or 20 minutes at a time… anything beyond that and the world goes to shambles… God. Coffee. Passion. And a solid pair of shoes.

  4. Has anyone told you today how incredible you are? Please, allow me. 🙂 This was absolutely breathtaking (no pun intended), and I got to the bottom and wished there were five hundred comments instead of five, because it would mean that many people had read these wonderful words today. “I can email you a spreadsheet in five minutes but have I carved out enough time to spread my fingers wide open so yours can fit inside?” is a brilliant motto by which to live one’s life. I hope you don’t mind if I lock that away for safe keeping 🙂

  5. Hannah you amaze me. In a few short paragraphs you’ve managed to capture what people spend their whole lives pondering: time. And while I agree that time is precious and should be lived to the fullest, I’m so grateful I found you and your blog because I always feel like a more enriched person after reading it, and never like my time is wasted. xoxo

    1. Although I can capture it, I may need 1,000 years more to understand it. Or attempt to turn it into my best friend. You are the best, thank you always for your beautiful comments. They keep me writing.

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