With the passing of every year, we climb another step up the age ladder, one calculated by the Earth's revolutions around the sun. The arrival of 2020 is no exception. It promises us yet another birthday celebration, adding one more year to our increasing longevity and, hopefully, making us not just older, but wiser.
Measured by the clock and the calendar, time is constant. And yet, for each person, the perception of time can be quite subjective and vary greatly. I have certainly felt its changes as I have travelled through different stages of my life.
I can still remember the agonizing, endless days and weeks of my childhood, feeling the painful longing for a slow winter or a futile summer to come to an end. There were times when I had no doubt that I was stuck in time and my life had ceased to move forward.
Somewhere in the distant past, my life must have sped up like a train. Suddenly, there was no more frustration with time and life moving too slowly. Time just took off, with my youth and adulthood on its wings.
However, now that my children are in college and I have more time to spare, I start to get the feeling that the clock is slowing down on me again, accompanied by the startling realization of how many years have sped by me. I sometimes have the whimsical fantasy of staying a younger age forever, or becoming a child again. Fortunately, the ancient magic of the Chinese Zodiac allows us to travel back in time and memory, spinning us back to our true celestial birthdays every 12 years.
As many of my readers may know, the Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve annual "birth animals" in this order: mouse, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Whichever your astronomical animal is (mine is the mouse), it only comes back every twelve years, allowing you to see your life in fewer, slower, larger cycles than Western calendars do.
Each revolution of the Chinese Zodiac gives you more emotional room to look back on your life and its progress, and even gives those who want to slow down the clock a new way of looking at their age. As you travel through time, don't forget to watch every 12 years for the return of your very own unique birth animal. It just could be your own special fountain of youth.
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Reflections of the East Column
By Qin Sun Stubis