Posts Tagged ‘Time Machine’

Time Machine

As a runner, I think about time – like, a lot.  How fast was that last mile?  How much time did that race take?  How much time do I have for today’s run?  What were my splits?  What did I average?

Time.  It’s on my mind all the…well…time.

But I’ve been thinking about time in a different way recently – as in, I wish I could go back in time.

We all have things we wished we had done differently when we were younger – the girl who got away; the trip we didn’t take; the job we declined.  I’ve got a bunch of them, but to be honest they are all silly and childlike save one – I wish I had been paying more attention to Brooke when she was a baby.

Now, understand, it’s not like Brooke is in a bad place right now.  Truth is, she’s been doing pretty well – her language gets more and more complex; she’s expressing how she feels; she’s getting more independent.  She even as a pair of sisters fighting over whose friend she is.  Brooke is in a pretty good place right now.  In general, she is happy.

But at the same time, I can’t help but notice the widening gap between her and her peers.  More and more her home-school communication journal mentions fewer and fewer friends she plays with.  As the girls her age have grown, I’ve seen fewer and fewer invitations to play dates – there have even been a few parents that just flat-out ignored any attempts on Brooke’s and my attempt to set something up.  And birthday parties?  Those are becoming rare as well – a natural progression to be sure; when Katie was Brooke’s age, she decided that she wanted to have smaller, more personal parties.  I get it.  But it’s still difficult to see the pictures on Facebook and the mentions of parties, knowing that she was not invited.  It’s not a “wah” moment, just an observation.

What scares me the most is the impending move to Middle School in a year and a half.  Will Brooke move on with her peers? or will she end up at a different Middle School with a special program for kids on the Spectrum?  These girls may not be calling for play dates and birthday invites, but they know her; they get her; they’re cool with her.

Would that I could go back in time to when Brooke was a baby.  Would there be anything I could have done?  Would that I had listened, really listened to Jess when she first felt something might be different.  Would Brooke be in a different place right now?

How could I have not noticed?  If I had, would she be different?  I know it’s not PC to wish the autism away, and you know, it’s not the autism per se that I would wish away – it’s the difficulties that Brooke faces every day that I wish I could change.  Brooke has autism, and no matter what I noticed or did six or seven or eight years ago wouldn’t change that – I just wonder if I had noticed earlier; if I had paid more attention; if I had gotten her the help she needed earlier…would it be different?

I wish I had a time machine so I could find out.

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“I only run when I’m being chased…”

-My Wife and many of my non-running friends

Why do I run? For one, I run because I am being chased. By whom? By the same entity that chases all of us. Time. I know that eventually I will lose this race. It is inevitable. But I run knowing that I can put years between me and that ultimate runner.

There are the obvious ways in which running puts off Father Time. As we improve our general health we tend to physically age more slowly.

What follows is one of my favorite quotes from Christopher McDougall’s Born To Run:

“You could literally halt epidemics in their tracks with this one remedy,” he said. He flashed two fingers up in a peace sign, then slowly rotated them downward till they were scissoring through space. The Running Man.

“So simple,” he said. “Just move your legs.”

For me that was an “aha!” moment. All of the common Western diseases can cut our “run” short. The simple act of running can prevent a countless number of these ailments from affecting our society so pervasively the way they do today.

But you know what else running can do? It can literally slow down time.

Yes, I said literally.

Based on Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, the Twin Paradox states that if one twin were to fly off in a rocket at close to light speed, fly around space for a while and then return to Earth, he would return to find his twin brother had aged dramatically more than he.  This is based on the fact that the speed of light is the same for every observer, no matter how fast he or she is going.  It has been proven in experiments.  Years ago, scientists sent several planes with atomic clocks on board to fly around the world.  Before they took off, the clocks on the planes were synchronized with an atomic clock on the ground.  When the aircrafts returned from their jaunts around the world, it was shown that the clocks on the airplanes were slightly behind the clock on the ground.  The faster one goes, the slower time moves for him or her.  At the speed of light, time essentially stops.

The faster and longer you run, the more time slows down for you. You age at a slower rate.  Sadly, you can run your whole life and only slow down time by a imperceptible amount, but I find knowing what we can do as runners poetic…beautiful. As runners we can control Time. We cannot ultimately defeat him, but by the simple act of running, we can tweak him.

I am being chased. That is one reason why I run.

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