Dothan High School Alumni -  Dothan, Alabama

"Ten Years"

Recently someone said to me, "It's been ten years."

"Amazing!" I replied. "Are you sure it's been that long?" The more I thought about it, the more I was amazed. How could the time have passed so quickly? Once a decade has passed, it seems just like yesterday that it began. However, ten years is a long time if you have to wait for it to happen.

Imagine being sentenced to ten years of hard labor or being in labor for ten years. Ten years in a dentist's chair would be a lifetime. Perhaps time really does speed up when you're having fun, and slow down when you are miserable. Einstein's theory of relativity probably relates to time in that the speed of time is relative to what you are doing. I must have been having a lot of fun.

I started reflecting on my life over the past ten years and discovered that there was very little that had not changed. It was a period filled with lots of losses and lots of good things. The person I was ten years ago and the person I am today have little in common, both physically and philosophically. I'm thankful for that. At least I think I am. Recently I went to my 40th high school reunion. It was a lot like revisiting Pompeii after the volcano erupted.

When I looked closely at those around me who I've known for ten years, I discovered that not everyone has changed as much as I. Some have changed a lot, others have changed some, and still others have changed very little. I also noticed that the ones who have changed the least are also the most boring, but I have not figured out why that is.

If we look at our lives in ten-year increments, it starts to get scary. In my case, when both of my parents were my age they had only two increments left to live. If the next two decades go as fast as the previous ones, I had better start doing some serious planning. If my theory about time is correct, I could plan to have a lot of bad times so that I live longer, or I could plan on having really good times but a shorter life. Research has shown that married men live longer than single men do. If time really does speed up when you are having a good time, then it validates the study.

I have decided to look at the rest of my life - the two remaining increments - as a free buffet. I will try a little of everything that appeals to me, and not worry too much about what is good for me and what is not. And I won't save the desserts until last. If I'm really lucky, some bad things will happen to give more value to the good things - and help me to live a little longer. And just perhaps I can squeeze in an extra increment or two.

• • •

(C) 2017
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