Time has a way of passing, doesn’t it? That’s just life, I know. But lately, for many reasons, I’ve been thinking about how time slips by.

First of all, I guess, is the fact that Mum has been gone for seven months. She died in early May. Most days I cannot wrap my head around the fact that she’s gone. That the structure of our family has changed. That her era has ended.

I still have stuff that needs doing with respect to Mum’s will. I’m her executor. I did some of the jobs back in the spring, and then in August I did some more. But some of it necessarily took time, and had to wait until Stu and I came home from Portugal to be finalized. But then Covid intervened and the weeks slid by. So some things are still up in the air. And in a few months a whole year will have gone by. Which seems unfathomable.

The time is slip sliding away, to quote Paul Simon.

But, as I said, that’s just life.

Then I saw this on Instagram the other day posted by British artist Andrew Weller. You can follow him here. It’s a beautiful depiction of a location in England which set memory bells clanging for me.

“The Black Bull Haworth” by Andrew Weller

“Wait a minute,” I thought. “We’ve been there.” And not just in Haworth, Yorkshire.

Haworth is home to the Brontë Parsonage Museum where I tarried for a couple of hours in July 2005, while Hubby patiently left me to my own devices and walked about the town. He is not so enthusiastic nor as emotionally affected by Brontë artifacts as I am. I mean, that heartbreakingly tiny dress worn by an adult Charlotte Brontë almost did me in. So he walked, and I enjoyed my time alone worshipping at yet another literary shrine.

Anyway. As I said, the other day when I saw that IG post I thought, “We have been there. Not just in Haworth… but in that exact spot.” And I have the photographic evidence to prove it.

Hubby in Haworth in 2005

And the point of all this is that photo of Hubby in the phone booth, still sporting the moustache he shaved off years ago, was taken almost twenty years ago. Eighteen years to be exact, in 2005.

Speaking of time slipping by.

I should add that while the moustache has gone, he still wears the Gortex jacket and pants for canoeing, and still brings that blue fanny pack when we travel. He is the original slow-fashionisto in our house, folks. Although maybe it would be more appropriate to use Orsola de Castro’s term and call him a “clothes keeper.” He is certainly that. Ha. But I should talk. As you well know, I have blazers and sweaters in my closet that are way older than Hubby’s jacket. Ten years older in fact.

So then, the other day I realized that it was my nephew’s birthday. My sister’s son turned forty-two. What? Yep. The kid who as a toddler could scamper up doorframes in his bare feet and swing from second floor railings giving his mother a heart attack is now a respectable husband and father of two. And how the heck did that happen?

Here’s the baby in question and his Auntie in December 1981. My goodness, how tiny he was. One of us is less than a month old, and the other is twenty-five. That makes me twenty-five years older than the forty-two year old. You do the math.

Auntie and new nephew. December 1981.

The changes time has wrought in forty-two years are certainly exemplified in the photo below, taken earlier this week. Aside from the obvious changes in hair colour. Look at how much makeup I wore in my twenties compared to now. Holy cow! I look as if I lathered the eye shadow on with a trowel back then.

And when I asked Hubby to look at the two photographs, he didn’t even notice the makeup. He said he had to look twice at the recent shot. For a second he thought it was my sister Carolyn. Until he recognized the coat. Something about the angle of the photo, he said. And when I look again, I can see it too.

Which is odd isn’t it? My sisters and I have always looked so different from each other. Connie, dark-haired with dark eyes like Mum. Carolyn with aquiline features and straight blonde hair. Me with a round face and curly hair. But lately, I can see that sometimes I smile just like my sister Carolyn.

Fate has been messing with me, I think. When I was twelve I would have given anything to look like either of my older sisters who I so admired. Why wait until I am reasonably happy with my own face to make us look alike? As Shakespeare says, the “whirligig of time” plays games with us as it slips and slides away.

Auntie… older. December 2023.

Lately it seems I’ve been noticing more and more often how time slip slides away. Weeks, months, decades, even. Until it seems to be gushing, rushing, cascading, rocketing, galloping, careening. Well, you get the point.

Kids are born. And those who were grown when those kids were born grow old. And those that were already old, or on the brink of it, when those kids were born are now gone.

But that’s just life, eh?

So that’s what’s been on my mind lately. Just life. And the slip sliding of time.

Because of the lingering effects of Covid, I’ve cancelled a couple of events that I really wanted to attend. And I’m disappointed about that. Especially about the birthday party of a good friend. A big party for a big birthday, which I am sad to have missed. And I had my outfit all planned. Sigh.

But I hope it was a great party. Because, after all, how many big birthdays do we have left to celebrate? With time slip sliding away, we can’t afford to miss any celebrations. And I mean any.

Hubby and I will celebrate our thirty-eighth Christmas together this year. Starting back in 1986 before we were married, or even living together. We started dating shortly before Christmas. So this time of year seems to be most particularly about us. About fires in the fireplace and a nice glass of wine and just we two.

Even in a world where time seems to be sliding away, that hasn’t changed.

How about you my friends? Of course it’s just life… I know that… but lately… have you been noticing that slip sliding effect of time?


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From the archives


Curating My Fall Closet

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39 thoughts on “Just Life Lately”

  1. Yes, this definitely resonated with me. We celebrated my aunt’s 100th birthday on December 1, my baby is 39, some of my former students are grandparents and some are retired. How is it possible that so much time has slipped away and so very quickly?

  2. All the time, every day. I can’t seem to help myself, running back and forward, comparing times. I think the time of year makes it even more focused, looking back over Christmases past, realising who is no longer with us. Oddly enough, I was thinking about that tiny dress of Charlotte’s only the other day as I reflected on the sizing of clothes in shops and how I, not as miniature as she was, am probably smaller than I think I am. And getting shorter. Another aspect of time, it seems. As my father, a Yorkshireman, would have said: ‘appen.

  3. Oh yes , time races along . Not just the months & years but the days & minutes too . I put the toast on & it’s burning in no time . Why is that ? All the little nephews & nieces have in-laws & little ones of their own now & consequently family gatherings have become too unwieldy to gather everyone in . It’s like being a member of the royal family – with every new baby we step back further from centre stage 😁 Yes , that’s life . Mustn’t grumble , as my mum would say . We’re very lucky . We began dating at Christmas too , fifty seven years ago , & there’s no one I’d rather be sitting by the fire with now . Robert Browning said ‘ Grow old with me , the best is yet to be ‘

  4. Such a bittersweet post which has soothed me. I love the song lyric, of time side slipping away which resonates with me now I’m in my 60s. It fits with another Scandinavian term I recently came across of ‘death cleaning’ which may fit in with all the decluttering I’ve started to do.
    The term to me seems soothing, empowering and cleansing. Back to my Christmas activities that are something my family will, carry forward with joy.
    I do wish you a peaceful, joyful and merry Christmas xxx

  5. Bang on Sue! Time is vanishing, racing, rushing, cascading!! Celebrating the gift of time with my friends and family and, making moments & memories seems to be my main priority theses days. Perhaps it’s the subconscious knowing that our days on this earth are numbered. Cherish the moments and the memories! Carpe momentum!

  6. This was a lovely post, Sue. Must be the season, as I was going through old photos yesterday and shed a tear or two: thinking about how time marches on and looking for those who are gone (including my younger self). Love the Haworth story. I also liked that mentioned Orsola de Castro. I bought a coat made of recycled materials recently that is named after her.

    1. I was thinking of you the other day, Stephanie as we walked through the streets at dusk on our way to the Christmas Market at Landsdowne. I remembered that you said you lived somewhere in that general part of Ottawa… and I said to Stu…we might meet Stephanie walking home from work. I haven’t walked through that part of Ottawa after dark since I lived on Morris Street in the Glebe in the eighties. I love that part of town. And the Christmas Market was lovely.

  7. Sue, you and your readers put voice to my own thoughts and random anxieties. Thank you for that. It helps to remember that we are all in this together.

    1. That is exactly it Judy. Feelings and thoughts so articulately put down on the page. I often save the weekly post and refer back to it for a few days. Good to know you are not alone in these feelings that often are overwhelming. Thanks!

  8. Chère Sue,
    J’aime vous lire ,car vous traitez bien souvent de sentiments universels que je partage .
    Le temps passe si vite et emporte ceux que l’on aime . Et il emporte aussi notre jeunesse , nos moi successifs .Nous ne sommes plus au début de notre vie ,ni même au moment de notre plénitude .Je crains fort ,en ce qui me concerne ,d’être dans la toute dernière partie de ma vie . Depuis que j’ai franchi le cap des 70 ans , je me sens plus fragile .
    J’ai fait au mieux avec ce qui m’a été donné .
    Je viens de perdre mon mari depuis 51 ans .Il était atteint de dégénérescence sénile depuis plus d’une décennie.
    Je peux dire sans honte qu’il a épuisé toutes mes capacités de patience et de résilience. Je suis psychologiquement ébranlée.
    Malgré tout je ressens au fond de moi un profond sentiment de libération.
    Il me reste ma liberté retrouvée.Et mon désir de vivre au mieux le temps qui me reste .
    J’ai l’intention de faire plein de choses saugrenues et frivoles ,de laisser libre cours a mon imagination .
    Ma fille ,qui vient de fêter ses 51 ans et qui est magistrate, craint le pire en ce qui me concerne !!!!
    Je n’ai pas l’intention de me laisser menotter par l’amour filial .
    J’ai gagné de droit de vivre …
    .Mon âge n’est qu’apparence. Mon coeur a 20 ans .
    Reste à savoir ce que je vais en faire .
    Joyeuses fêtes !
    Il faut être inclusif disent les imbéciles de France . Joyeux Noël n’est pas assez laïc et trop masculin .
    La bêtise régit le monde et ma France s’enfonce dans la stupidité la plus crasse entre l’écologisme qui voudrait interdire le sapin de Noël , le ”laicisme ” qui voudrait nous voler notre histoire judéo-chrétienne , l’islamisme qui voudrait nous dicter notre mode de vie .
    Oh! Oui ,Sue ,le temps passe …

    1. I am glad you have found new vitality for life, Celia, after such a difficult time. I think this time of year allows for all kinds of celebrations from many different cultures, not just our own. And I really like the fact that we are opening up to new ideas.

  9. Such a poignant post, thank you. My husband of 38 years and I began dating in December, also. I was living in Wales, in the coldest house in the country, LOL, and he piqued my interest when he brought a load of firewood as his hostess gift. Still the same guy today — a clothes keeper, a practical, helpful guy, and a fan of firewood and warm houses. 😉

    1. You have to love a man who brings his own wood. A friend of mine said she thinks she fell in love with her husband when, very early in their relationship after mentioning that she needed to fix a poorly installed curtain rod in her new home, he said “I’ll be right back” disappeared, returned with his tool belt, took the rod down, reinstalled it, and they proceeded on their date.

  10. Sue I hear you about birthdays, the passing of time and loss…sometimes Christmas brings the melancholy that is so often a part of looking back over the past year…
    Less than a month ago my 98yr old father passed away as I held his hand. Not a month before he had celebrated his birthday with a lovely party attended by those who loved him catered by his favourite Mandarine restaurant:) He met two great grands for the first time as their births were during Covid and 400km separated them. He had a great time in October as grandson #1 had brought his brood from New Jersey to see great poppa. He had a birthday chat with his sister in law who lives in BC when she turned 86…celebration and joy abounded in his last month…and then he was gone. Four days after he left the planet my husband and I returned to Ottawa to prepare for the following week’s funeral only to find our previously well 14yr old dog had become very ill overnight. I held his paw in a sadly déjà vu moment as he quietly left us at the ER vet clinic.
    Two lives, well lived and well loved by so many but leaving those behind so bereft in this season of joy. Christmas was my Dad’s favourite season and coming as he did from a large North Toronto family it was a time of feasting, visiting, connecting and the hope that new skates and maybe a stick under the tree for my hockey mad father! My Dad never lost the joy of the season nor his love of hockey and had his last skate in his eighties! My most cherished photo was of him reading with his great grandson by the tree in 2019 just two months after losing my mom. He was happy that Christmas though he missed my mom terribly. He held onto his belief that the season was for celebration not sadness, finding joy in the moment.
    Sue that is where we find our joy, in the moment. I read that those who suffer depression focus on the past and those who experience anxiety worry about the future. Thinking of past days or planning the future is not a bad thing if it brings us happiness but real joy is found in present time, in this moment.
    Bless you Sue for all you give to your readers. This season enjoy your wine by the fire with your love, toast your Mom and find peace and joy in the present.
    Merry Christmas

    1. My mum experienced something similar when all of her grandchildren journeyed from different parts of the country to visit, not together, but at different times during what turned out to be her last summer. So grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even two great-great-grandchildren came for hugs. I loved that for her.

  11. I will never forget my mom telling me “the older you get, the faster time goes” Thought it was funny at the time because, well time is the same for all of us right? It turns out she was right though. Especially I find since I retired as one day it’s Monday and the next it’s Friday or I just get up and it’s time to go to bed! And when did I get to be 72? How is that possible? I really do try to appreciate that fact though, as many of my friends and family did not get to live this long. I am blessed to be this old and in good health, still have my husband and family close by. But sometimes don’t you all wish we could slow time down just a little?

    Enjoy your crackling fires and glasses of wine Sue! Have a very merry Christmas!

  12. It’s so easy to slip into a melancholy mood during the holiday season. Both of my parents passed away shortly before Christmas, fifteen years apart. First my dad and then my mother. My baby grandchildren are now getting engaged or already having babies of their own. Time doesn’t stand still or wait for us to adjust. We don’t want to dilly dally about finding those things that make us happy or a bit silly occasionally. “We’re still having fun and you’re still the one” plays repeatedly in my head.

  13. Ah yes – the time is flying by. My baby is 50 and my mom is 97. How did that happen? And I had 42 great years with my hubby who has now been gone for 16 years. My goodness! I don’t feel old enough for all of this!

  14. December always flies by and this year is no exception. Life is generally less hectic after retirement but the rapid progress of December seems unaffected. It is sad to miss out on celebrations, especially when the outfit planning has been done, but you are wise to place health first. I hate the way Covid shrinks life and experiences. Happy “Christmas” anniversary to you and Stu 🎄

  15. Great post. Others have written poignantly on the passage of time better than I could have. I had to laugh about hubby being more of a “clothes keeper” than you. I joke my husband invented slow fashion when I see the same ensembles pop up in photos year after year. Hope you are feeling better in time for more socializing in the new year!

  16. Happy anniversary! Merry Christmas! To you both!
    I hear you Sue! When Gene Hackman in his movies, especially in French Connection, (I was 13 when it was filmed in 1971) suddenly became young and handsome, instead old, for me (many ,many years later), I’ve realized how fast years went…..

  17. I have a pic in 1979 with the make up slathered on very similar to yours. It must have been trendy. Happy Christmas Sue! Thanks for your blog.

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