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Learn from time and enjoy what we have

“Four days will quickly steep themselves in nights;

Four nights will quickly dream away the time.” — William Shakespeare

The passage of time has been on my mind quite a bit lately. It can play tricks on us if we don’t pay attention; make us question our memories and experiences at times.

Days seemingly come and go faster that I expect. We just began the year, and yet we are now faced with the dawning of spring.

I’m in my early 40s, which feels impossible, because, most days it feels as if it wasn’t long ago I was finishing high school and going through college. Except, I received a reminder the other day that I finished high school 24 years ago.

That realization also means I now have colleagues in this business who had yet to be born when I started my own journey in journalism.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been social media posts, press releases and various commentary noting the one-year “anniversary” of moments connected to the COVID pandemic. It’s been one year since our state’s governor began issuing executive orders in the matter, one year since West Virginia had its first confirmed case. One year since we went into “lock-down.”

It’s been one year since professional sports, community events and much of our regular, “normal” life, as we knew it, came to a screeching halt.

This last year has not been kind for many of us. We’ve known people who have had the virus. We’ve known people who are no longer here as a result. It’s been stressful and mind-numbing, and it probably feels as if this is something we’ve been dealing with forever instead of just a year.

We’ve all made adjustments, whether it’s been limiting our time outside of home and work, maybe working from home, taking extra care with our hygiene. We all want to rush back out now that the light of hope is getting brighter, but there’s probably also some hesitancy out of both fear and habit.

Eventually, though, this whole episode of our world’s history will be behind us. It won’t be overnight, but it will happen. We’ll look back, one day, thinking it wasn’t long ago, only to realize years have passed.

The flow of time, as we measure it, doesn’t stop. It continues no matter what we do, or don’t do, in our lives. The Earth rotates, giving us our days and nights. It revolves around the Sun, giving us our years. We grow older, and, hopefully, wiser, with the passing of each moment.

It can get a little overwhelming if we allow it, pushing forward to tackle the work we’ve been given with little time to actually appreciate what we have as a result.

If nothing else, this last year has taught us more about the importance of finding balance in our lives and taking the time to appreciate what matters.

We all are presented with responsibilities, and while they need addressed, we also can’t allow ourselves to become overburdened to the point of not taking care of ourselves.

My advice: reflect on the last year. See what changes you feel you might need to make. Reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Take that extra bit of time to just spend by yourself. Read a book. Take a walk. Go buy an ice cream if you are able.

After all, at the end of it, none of us know how much time we have.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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