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You don’t get the time back...

How often do you hear yourself saying “not now, I’m too busy“? As a self-confessed workaholic and perfectionist trust me, I know all about thinking you don’t have the time.

2020 was the year time stopped and everything was put into perspective.

Having to slow down made me realise something, what all had I missed when I was so ‘busy?’ It really is true what they say. You don’t get the time back. My brother is 9 years younger than me, because of this I always played more of a maternal role in his life than a sister. I was absolutely delighted when my mum announced she was having another baby. Being the only child in the house was lonely and I couldn’t wait to have what everyone else around me seemed to. When he was born, I took great pride in helping my mum with him. As he grew this continued. My parents both worked demanding jobs and me being so much older was a great help to them. I spent the years until I left for university helping with him and watching him grow.

In January 2020 I found myself fully transitioning into the parental role when my parents passed away and I became guardian to my now 16-year-old brother. This was very different to when we had both been children.

He was now a fully grown young man, with opinions, interests and emotions. He was no longer the little boy I pushed around in the pram. Becoming his guardian and the challenges it presented reminded me of the fragility of time. In an instant my parents were gone, in what seemed like a moment my brother was grown up and in a blink of an eye, so was I. Time was flying by. Having worked as a drama facilitator for the past 6 years I had seen many a child grow up. 3-year-olds coming into my class timid, barely willing to communicate and be without their parents. They had now grown into mini adults with imagination, opinions and so much to give. I’d watched as once awkward 11/12-year-olds still finding out who they were and what place they had in this strange world, now entering adulthood and experiencing all the things I had already. Time was flying by. You can’t buy it at the shop, it’s not something you can create or something that you can reverse. Time is so precious. Before we know it, children grow up, people leave us, belongings fade and we wither into old age. Time really is of the essence.

Go out and jump in those puddles, bake the cake, go on that holiday you’ve always dreamed of, watch whatever it is they want to show you, hold them for just that minute longer. Forget about whatever it is that you think is making you busy, it can wait. But our loved ones cannot. Before you know it, they will be grown and you would do anything to be asked for some time.

Embrace the now.

You don’t get the time back.

By Hannah Reilly

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