Measuring Time

Why is it we measure time using big, monumentous occasions? For example, if I asked where were you when you heard the Challenger blew up? Or President Reagan was shot? Or the planes flew into the twin towers? You could probably tell me exactly where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with. (Provided you’re old enough to remember some of those events.)

But what if I asked you, where were you or what were you doing on March 13, 2001? Or last Tuesday at 2:47 pm? Would you remember what you were doing then? Who you were with? Would it evoke a pleasant memory or something you’d rather not face?

As a mother to a now 11 year old I find myself wondering where have the years gone already? We celebrated her birthday just a couple of weeks ago, and during that time I realized in just 7 more years she’ll be old enough to start college. That’s 3 years less than since we adopted her. She’ll be old enough to vote then. And old enough to do a lot of other things that I don’t really want to think about right now. (I still have memories of what I was doing when I was 18) So as I write this, it’s a reminder to me to cherish those small, every day moments. To stop measuring time just based on the big milestones, but to enjoy the little ones too.


And to answer my own questions posed earlier ~ I was on an airplane flying to New Orleans with my dad when I heard about the space shuttle blowing up.  Our pilot used the unfortunate choice of words when he first came on the PA system. He said “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” You can imagine what my first thoughts were there.

I was living in Virginia, just outside of DC when President Reagan was shot. And for some reason I was home from school that day, so I saw it on tv, over and over again.

And on September 11th, I was getting ready to take my mom to the airport. She was supposed to fly from Atlanta back to Seattle that day. Needless to say after seeing the second plane hit, live because I had just turned on the news, I turned to my mom and told her I don’t think you’re going anywhere today.

As for March 13, 2001 – I do remember this day, only because we were still in China, getting to know our new daughter. As to last Tuesday, that sadly I don’t have much recollection of. I’d have to go back and look at my calendar to even see what I was doing that day.



  1. Love this post! It stirred something in me.

    I was eating lunch in my high school cafeteria when I heard the news of Challenger. I was in Clearwater, Florida, so we all ran outside and saw the contorted smoke ball in the horizon. It was disturbing.

    I, too, was home when Reagan was shot. And remember the non-stop news coverage.

    The morning of September 11th was my one-month-old son’s first visit with the pediatrician. The doc walked into the exam room and said, “A plane crashed into one of the Twin Towers.”

    I also vividly remember John Lennon being shot. The L.A. riots. And, on March 8th last year, a scared little one-year-old girl trying to process what was happening to her as these strange-talking foreigners surrounded her.

    Time is a funny thing, isn’t it? In our physical reality, it feels so real. Like it’s flowing. But then something happens in our life where time seems to stop. It’s then that we catch a glimpse of eternity.

    Funny how the eternal feels so present when it’s upon us.

  2. Wow, I can’t imagine being in Florida and seeing the debris when the Challenger blew up. I’m sure that left a vivid image in your minds eye as well.
    I remember where I was hearing about John Lennon as well as the LA riots. The Berlin wall falling too. It’s amazing to think back on all the history that has happened just in our lifetimes, let alone that of our parents.

    Thanks for sharing Keith.

  3. I laughed out loud about what the pilot said… “I’m afraid I have some bad news.” Really? Shouldn’t they take a PA etiquette course?

  4. Tiffany ~ It was definitely a poor choice of words on his part. I think he was so shocked by the news, it was probably the first thing that came to mind. Fortunately we all realized pretty quickly that we weren’t in any danger.

    Thanks for joining the conversation.

  5. Also shoot me an email when you get a chance. I’d love to pick your brain about something…tiffanyantoun(at)

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