It curves; it expands; it shrinks. Einstein said it is relative.
What does that mean?
As I looked at time as a little girl, I thought it stretched. Christmas took “forever” to arrive. And Christmas Eve seemed to last twice as long as it should before Santa arrived.
I reached school. Now time seemed pretty elastic. A school day sometimes seemed to be 24 hours long. But summer vacation just galloped past, not giving me time to enjoy it all.
Then I grew up. Exams could last forever. Meetings with bosses had minutes that crawled. Holidays flew past.
But I dreamed then. The speed of light was constant and nothing could go any faster. But I thought, “What would it be like if I traveled at nearly the speed of light.” I could get to the sun in what – maybe eight minutes. Or I go could back millions of light years to the ‘Big Bang’ when the universe was created.
Those were mind tricks. As I grew older, it seemed time passed faster. It took no time from one Christmas or birthday to another. Deadlines – a necessity in journalism – seemed to roll around faster as the years went by.
But I think, “How did I reach my 60s. Surely that many years has not passed?” And I look at my mother. She’s seen the arrival of cars, airplanes, rockets, the space shuttle. She was around for men arriving on the moon and for the explosion of the computer and the Internet.
Does her time speed by faster than mine or faster than my nieces or faster than her great-grandchildren’s? Einstein said, “No.” I’m not sure I agree. I’ve spent about 34,394,560 minutes on this earth. And I’m sure the ones in the last fourth of that time have sped by faster than the ones when I was a child.
– Jenny Munro