The velocity of forced change

Is the world actually changing with disorienting acceleration or is my perception of break-neck speed merely a product of getting older?  My knowledge of physics is rudimentary at best, yet it makes sense that life’s velocity is picking up
speed for me because I am slowing down.  I did not choose change, at least not consciously.  I resided in a comfort zone where so many people in their 40’s live, a zone of familiar responsibility and paychecks.

My scope of responsibility has changed dramatically since I lost my job two months ago.  I am confused when asked if I am bored not working.  Not working?  I am working my ass off adjusting to this change and worn out at the end of every day from the learning curve.  Entertaining that my exhaustion is due to my age does not help me get back on the treadmill tomorrow; it makes no difference why my mind is tired, only that I keep learning the new rules of our tech-savvy and untrustworthy world.  And all of this needs to be accomplished while nurturing my wounded spirit.  I am not a natural nurturer, so this is my greatest challenge.  I am more of a kick-it-in-the-ass kind of woman, having always believed that my choices impact my reality more than anything else.  If you do not like something, change it!  The toddler inside me is stomping her feet and yelling, “I want!” and I am so frustrated with trying to convince her that my efforts will pay off eventually that I just want to tell her to shut up, be quiet.  See what I mean about not being a nurturer?

I cannot deny the excitement of learning new things, both practical and existential.
From matching coupons to grocery sales in order to save money to practicing mindfulness, it is all new ground.  I thought I needed to break the mold of who I was two months ago, but find myself more comfortable blending who I am with new skills, yet there is no money in it.  Perhaps this is how college students feel.  How do you place a value on skills and lessons learned during times of change and who determines the value?  This is where my true nature kicks in.  I, and only I, can assess my cost for forced change because I am the one paying.

“I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.” – Annie Johnson from Maya Angelou’s Wouldn’t Take Nothing for my Journey Now


  1. Emily · September 28, 2011

    Yes I felt that way as a college student, “I want, I want!” And yes only you can assess how much it is worth.

  2. David · September 27, 2011

    Kim, I love your idea that our slowing with age gives us the perception that the world is speeding up, even though it may or may not be so (those physicists have convoluted debates on the passage of time, some even saying there is no such thing, that time is only a construct of our mind).

    Approaching my 8th decade, I have long been aware of the world’s apparent rush to leave me behind. Until your post, I had conveniently denied that my natural slowing with age had anything to do with it.

    I’d been attracted to two of the many explanations for this time distortion; one being that, as I age, the event horizon of life’s end looms ever larger. As a young person, I had thought that life goes on indefinitely. The death of family and friends, along with the arrival of physical infirmities, has convinced me that I am unavoidably mortal.

    In addition to appreciating that I have a smaller slice of life remaining, as opposed to the whole pie, I am also aware that I have practiced most of my life’s quotidian events for so long that they have become automatic. I no longer need to learn how to do most things, no longer have to think through detailed plans. I have the freedom to focus on what’s going on in this moment and simply glide along on this river of time. The big advantage of allowing past and future to fade into the background is that I am engaged by the present and able to enjoy it more. It is the only life I have.

    Thank you for adding another piece to the time puzzle for me, Kim. ~David

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