We think in terms of time— Always and forever. This minute and for twenty-four hours of the day. In the past, too. We ask ‘how much time do we have?’ ‘how long will it take?’ and the simplest, ‘what time is it, now?’
We act based on the structure of time— ‘a 9 A.M. meeting,’ ‘next month’s re-inspection of the car,’ and ‘medicine should be taken morning, noon, and night.’
We dream in segments of time— ‘planning summer vacations,’ ‘raising children/empty-nesting,’ and ‘retirement,’ otherwise known as the golden years.
All time is not created equal. While ‘timeless’ describes certain people and styles, certainly ‘retro’ celebrates those that relish the past. Likewise, while some of us (homo sapiens ~ 200,000 years ago, in Africa) eschew the parameters created by the construct known as timekeeping, others depend on the almighty clock like an evening cocktail.
Time flies, and time stands still for no one. Creative flow ‘stops the clock’, or, more accurately, shifts our consciousness within the ‘passing of time’ realm. Advancement, enhancement and expansion are only possible when the clock stops counting down. When we ‘lose our time’ (coined, perhaps, by Edward Norton’s character in Primal Fear, 1996), we come out the other end with the realization that Earth has not stopped spinning (on its axis, which takes 24 hours and was developed by the ancient Egyptians).
By middle age, we consider the ‘bucket list’ challenge, knowing that we don’t actually know how much more time we have on the planet. Global Warming and Climate Change Truth! aside, we think and dream about, and perhaps, act on, pursuits not previously achieved during the time that we were growing up, getting educated, getting married, raising children, getting unmarried, getting remarried, greeting grandchildren, attending to aging parents, working and paying bills (most of which today, is aka ‘adulting’).
Children (birth to Kindergarten) and the elderly with dementia (Currently “more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimers.” per Alz.org — plus the rest of the world’s numbers—) live moment to moment, a sense of timelessness. Babies and small children suffer no ill effects from the absence of time. However, when an aged (or, more tragically, an early-onset-affected) adult becomes, first, confused about and, second, aware of ‘losing their time,’ it is an altogether different sensation than that of one who still knows what time it is. A lifetime of structure, rigid timeframes and memorable timelines sets the tone for order and keeps chaos at bay. Imagine the panic produced, then, by not knowing if it is Monday, March or the next millennia. Days run into night and night after night, they may think it is day.
This is when time may truly meander or it may simply stand still. It may seem, and we can hope, that as ‘timelessness’ permeates their world, those with the disease will feel fear become freedom.