The Problem with Time

Forty-three years ago today, the United States put man on the moon. It is amazing to think that much time has passed. Even more astonishing is the rate at which time is now flying.

I stood in the passageway at work this afternoon and saw a familiar face. I knew the student had graduated and was out flying. I asked him who he was flying for and he gave me the name of a good regional carrier. I said, “Good for you! How long have you been flying with them?”

“A while,” he said. Then he added, “I am in the upgrade process now.” I looked at him. I thought he had graduated a year, maybe two years back. I would have sworn under oath he had been in my class only a couple of years ago. He answered by saying he graduated in 2005.

Seven years ago!

I stood there, shocked. I really thought he was just out of school. Then my mind started wandering back through the years and soon I realized my thoughts were covering decades, not just years.

So much has happened in aviation and space during the course of my lifetime. When I was a child, I thought I would grow up to become a B-17 command pilot. (This was before I had a firm grasp on the concept of time.) The aviation events of World War II greatly influenced the way we thought nationally when it came to flying and space.

We took great pride in our leadership in aviation. We set records flying farther, higher, and faster than anyone else. And we did a great deal of this in … my lifetime.

Somehow, all these things happened and after talking with the pilot from my class, I realized much of it happened without my seeing it as it happened because I, like every one around me, was busy.

We have lives to live, children to raise, bills to pay, concerts to attend, funerals celebrating the lives of our loved ones, work to do, lawns to mow, places to be, well, you get the picture.

But there are those moments that stand out in history as well as all of our lives; the defining moment I will remember best will always be Neil Armstrong stepping on the face of the moon. I had just turned 16 and on this day so long ago, that very first and most important milestone took place. I wrote about it last year (We Choose to Go to the Moon). This year, as in years past, it seems as though we achieved this dream only yesterday.

I was once a small boy, dreaming of flying.

Now, I am on the other side of the timeline with a logbook full of hours wondering where the time has all gone. The babies born in the 70s and 80s are now the airline pilots, the doctors, the senators, the leaders of today.

They were babies just yesterday and we, well, we were only dreaming of walking on the moon.


©2012 J. Clark

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