My life is marked by events, and I find myself judging the passage of time by referring to my personal history rather than by dates on a calendar.
Life before emigrating and after emigrating are such different entities as to be completely unrecognisable to each other. Sure, I've reached adulthood since flying across the ocean nine years ago, but I've also been formed by the culture around me in fundamental ways. My first 18 years is my "before" shot, and these subsequent years are becoming my "after" shot.
But that's not all. I further segment my life into "before" and "after" marriage, children, home moving, health issues. Breaking my life into these chunks has a way of compressing time. I always have some sort of event to look forward to -- at the moment it is a holiday to the states and Eldest's fifth birthday -- and time hurtles forward to these anticipatory moments at an astonishing rate.
I am only in my mid-twenties, but sometimes I get this worrying feeling that time is running out. I don't have as much of it as I think I have. I'm not talking about an early demise or anything so macabre; I'm just aware of the fact that one day I will wake up to a quiet, empty nest of a house, with gray hair on my head and no one to worry about but myself and my husband (and probably a dog), and not remember how I got to that point.
My life is chugging along quite merrily; it's a good life, and one that I chose freely and willingly. I just want to put the brakes on every once in a while.... slow down for a bit. It makes no difference what I want, though. I'll soon wake up with that gray head of hair, and I'll still have that feeling of confusion and vague shock.