Our measure of time skews as we grow older - as a child, it takes forever to become old enough to stay home on your own, to drive, to go out with your friends or to date. Those older than me have told me that the time passes quickly for them; the days flow together and before they know it, a year is halfway gone and the previous one seems a distant memory. Time is out of our control, moving at the same speed as it always has, and yet somehow we each have our own unique perception of it. There are dozens of ways to keep track of it: the clock on the wall, the watch on your wrist, the phone in your hand, the calendar you bought because you liked the design of it.
But time moves regardless of us and what we want with it. Time does not care that we just need a few more minutes to finish that assignment that you put off until the night that it's due. Time does not slow down to allow you to be on time to work despite the traffic that has delayed you by far later than usual. Time is unchanging, unaware, and uncaring of those who wish to control it or give it a definition. But we measure it anyway. We define it and then live by our own definition of it.
My measure of time is not in days, or hours, or minutes. My measure of time is in the before and the after of the people that I did not start my life with. It is the years of friendships that I have held with those who have become family to me, those who make life before them seem more like a dream than anything concrete and real. This month, this week, specifically, it is in the love I hold for my boyfriend, my Jason. It has been close to four years to the day that he took my hand and didn't let go.
For a fifth of my life, I have loved this man. We have grown together in ways that I could not have imagined before him. We have learned from each other how to balance the push and pull of our lives, and how to stand together in the face of obstacles we otherwise have no control over. And every day, we continue to learn, from each other and the world around us. We're young, still unaware of so much that is yet to come, but I know that when it does, we will go into it together. I truly believe that we will do this for the rest of our lives.