Is life passing us by?


cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Chris Gin

Long after I’d eaten the bruschetta, drank the wine, and hung up the phone, my mind kept wandering to something my sister had said.

“Life is passing us by.”

For days, I’ve pondered if there’s any validity to this statement, or at least, if it applies to my life in any way, shape, or form.

However, my pondering hasn’t been continuous.

I’ve taken breaks.

I’ve let the words sink in; let them marinate.

After all, how can one dismiss or embrace such a statement without first letting it make a fold in one’s cerebral cortex?

As this thought process has taken shape, I’ve accepted that yes, there are days when I wake up and think, is this all there is to life?

But there are also days when I think, life is good.

What causes us to shift from one perspective to another?

What makes us believe that life is passing us by?

I think that at times it might be, for example, discovering that a friend has gotten a promotion at work, or that an acquaintance is going off to explore the pyramids in Egypt.

Other times, we might find ourselves embracing this train of thought when we look in the mirror and see how premature wrinkles and gray hairs have made an appearance, without so much as a word of warning.

And yet other times, we may realize that another month has passed and we don’t have any recollection of where the time went or how we spent it.

In some of these circumstances, we might choose to be happy for the parties involved; we might choose to ignore the signs of aging and accept them as life’s natural course.

But when we don’t, when we’re hell bent on thinking we’re not the ones progressing in our careers, or seeing the tombs of ancient pharaohs, that’s when we might start believing life is passing us by.

But is life really passing us by, or is our attitude prompting us to feel this way?

I believe that while it’s true that life is passing, it’s not passing us by.

Instead, we’re steering its course; we’re playing a lead role in its grand scenario.

Because life is not static.

It doesn’t stand still when things are bad or good.

Life continues to move forward and we continue to evolve, but only if we choose to do so.

If, on the other hand, we elect to stay immobile, stubbornly refusing to take a step, life will not pass us by, but we will remain in the same place, the same spot, until we choose to take a step.

Backwards, sideways, forward, or at an angle, the choice is up to us.

No one can tell us what to do.

It’s our life, after all.

However, if at any time we’re feeling like life is passing us by, this could be life’s way of telling us something is wrong.

Our frustration, angst, and dissatisfaction could very well stem from the fact that we’re not happy; that we don’t feel fulfilled.

Nevertheless, it’s up to us make a change.

And in taking the necessary steps to change our circumstances, we will influence how we see life’s passing.

Have you ever felt that life is passing you by?

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72 thoughts on “Is life passing us by?

  1. I’ve never felt that life was passing me by; but I’m far from immune to that particular sting of someone I know (or someone I don’t know) doing something I consider interesting, and I’ve never done that thing.

    Then I remind myself that I’m doing something else.

    I’m not doing that thing because I’m doing something else. Maybe I’ll do that thing someday too, maybe I won’t. In the meantime, I’m doing something else, and that’s not bad, either.

    1. Ivana, I love your way of thinking. When we’re able to stay grounded and celebrate our own achievements, then I think we’re on the right track! :)

  2. I think answering this question depends much on the mood we are in, on the life circumstances we are having, but to be honest, i never really felt i could be doing better out of my life, or that life is passing me by. Wrinkles or grey hair, bad health or getting old was never a problem to me. I know that what I will say can seem “wrong”, but for me life is just a journey and the destination is “LIFE” the real eternal one, so the closer I get to the end of my journey, the closer i get to happiness.

    1. Nikki, bravo! I like your way of thinking. I’ll admit that the wrinkles and gray hairs always make me aware of the fact that I’m getting older, and contrary to you, this makes me feel like I’m running out of time. Methinks I have to work more on being less shallow! :)

  3. Sometimes I feel like I should have accomplished more by now, but I think that’s more my inner perfectionist hassling me than true dissatisfaction with my life. I love your idea that when we look at what we’re doing and feel that it isn’t fulfilling, we can change direction because we are in control.

    1. Shary, you’re so right my friend! Our inner perfectionist oftentimes gets in the way and muddles our outlook on life. I truly believe we can change directions, but the choice is up to us. I think when we allow others to influence or push us, the outcome is never the same. This decision to do whatever we choose to do is very personal. :)

  4. What a great piece, thanks. I feel very much the same way that you do, if I’m feeling life is passing me by then it’s time for me to reexamine where I am and what I need to do to move forward. I have not felt a victim of life for quite a long time now. And, I’m a much happier person because of it!!

    1. Hello Kathy! It’s great to hear how you’ve managed to beat life’s woes. I’m happy to report that I haven’t felt this way in a while as well. My sister, sadly, feels like this often and it me think that life holds her hostage only because she allows it. Here’s to reexamining our circumstances and making the needed changes! :)

  5. I feel like people are ahead of me, but people often think that of me. So I try to remember that is it not linear, ya know? We are just all exactly where we are supposed to be. If you looked at the big picture there is not behind or forward.

    1. Jodi, amen! You know, I rarely look back at life. And if I do, it’s only to remember the good stuff or evaluate how far I’ve come. I love how you point out how life is not linear. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

  6. While I don’t feel life is passing me by, per se, I find I must be vigilant in my mindfulness regarding how I spend my time. Case and point: this past weekend’s road trip with my Ya-Yas. There was a time that I would have held back from going because of other, broader commitments – commitments that came after plans were made for that weekend. I would have claimed I couldn’t go because I would let a whole bunch of people down; it was my duty. Well, what about me? For years I missed out on any number of things, because I saturated myself in work, and the peripherals that went along with it. While I learned a lot, and had some great experiences, and met some terrific people, I was so entrenched in that one place, with that one group, I look back now and know that is no longer who I am and what I’m about. I’m living, thank you. :-) xoxo

    1. Ellen, hear, hear! Good for you for putting yourself first! At times we have to take a little and not be so focused on giving. I know that somehow sounds wrong, but really, when is it our turn? As mothers, we’re never first. As wives, we’re rarely first. I say it’s about time, we start taking the spot for a change! I’m glad you were a part of your Ya-Yas road trip and that it was a wonderful experience which allowed you to meet so many people! :)

  7. Not until you said that thing about the pyramids, then I felt like I was running out of time and needed to book a flight to Egypt ASAP because if there is one thing I’d like to before I die, it’s see the tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

  8. I liked thinking about this question, it made me feel that despite all my kicking and screaming, I’ve never really been too wedded to the feeling that life was passing me by. I agree with you. That feeling is a sign something isn’t right, and perhaps we need to make an adjustment. When I think of life as passing me by, I also imagine me running desperately beside it, doing my damnedest to hop inside on open car. I’ve been extremely lucky to find some kind souls kicking about the freight.

    1. Patrice, thank God for the “kind souls kicking about the freight”! I tell you, if it weren’t for them, many a times in my life, I would have stopped running and come to a complete stop! :)

  9. –Sweet Bella,

    If you would have asked me this question 20 months ago, I would have said “No”
    but now, today, I’m not quite sure.

    Time just sort of (Stopped.) you know?

    I must ponder this….

    I love reading your blogs and I loooove Roxy.

    Please add her photo to your next blog. Xxx

    1. Dearest Kim, I can understand why you would feel this way. Time does have a way of stopping when something we love is gone. I’ll be honest and say that in circumstances such as these, I would have to ponder it as well. It makes me so happy that you love reading my blog! Roxy is tickled pink that you want her photo in the next blog post! I promise to include her mug next time around, just for you! Love to you from Roxy and me! :)

  10. Yes, Bella, I’ve sometimes felt that I’m in a stagnant pond, but then I know it’s time to make a major life change–to challenge myself with something new and scary. So I go steppin’ out into the void (may I mix metaphors?) and those are the times I am the happiest.

    PS I’m not sure it’s the best time to go to Egypt right now, but someday I’d sure love to visit those pyramids everyone’s talking about!!!

    1. Jann, by all means, mix metaphors! hee hee! I love taking a leap of faith. Like you mention, sometimes we have to step out into the void and that reminds me of taking a leap of faith. We don’t know what lies on the other end but we just leap! Someday I want to visit the pyramids, Jann! How exciting would that be, eh, amica? :)

  11. Sometimes I do feel it is, but I also know it’s because I’m letting Life pass me by. It’s always sort of comforting & liberating to remind ourselves to move along in Life and pay attention to the details so that none would be wasted, not the details and definitely not my time in this world. Your post has reminded me this again. Thanks, Bella. :)

    1. Claudine, you’re more than welcome! I think there is comfort in knowing we have to remind ourselves to keep moving; to not ignore or take for granted the many details that compose life. Perhaps this is what keeps us grounded; what inspires us to make our next move. Here’s to making every minute count! :)

    1. Heather, amen! You’re right! Having too much free time on our hands prompts us to ruminate and this in turn, send us on a collision course where we end up frustrated, confused, and dissatisfied. I say, if you have free time, spend it relaxing or doing something you like, but don’t use it to dwell on what you don’t have or what makes you unhappy! :)

  12. Hmm, I have to say yes. There have been two periods of my life (my blue period – when I was shallow and all about the boys and new shoes, blue because of Picasso’s blue period. Later, my early married years–The Stepford Wife period. I haven’t lost track of time since. I believe in sitting still, allowing myself to recharge, ponder, reconnect with my creative self should we become separated, but that’s not getting lost in time. Thoughtful post.. you’re gonna have everybody going through self-evaluations.. :-)

    1. Brenda, most definitely we have to take a step back from life’s activities and reconnect with our selves, our muse, or simply ponder our achievements. But like you mention, this is not watching life pass us by. Instead, it’s a break from the daily conundrum which seems to have a way of wearing us down. I’m delighted you enjoyed the post, lady! :)

  13. My problem is not that life is passing me by. I’m too busy for that. It’s that time is going so quickly! Which is why I really would like to add a week to each month for staying home and not having to go work. That would be so cool!

    1. Speak for yourself, woman! If I added any more weeks to the months we already have, I’m certain I’d have a physical and/or nervous breakdown. We definitely have to stop burning the candle at both ends. This cannot be healthy. Perhaps we do need to sit, grab a coffee and watch life pass for a while. But in the way Brenda mentioned; reconnecting with whatever will charge our mental batteries! hee hee! :)

  14. Very well written as usual, Bella. I’m sharing this.
    I do believe that it’s when we’re feeling low about ourselves that we begin to feel this way, Bella. I know that a few years back I wasted precious time thinking how life was passing me by and feeling helpless. But when I began to take control of my life, time does fly, but it doesn’t pass me by. I am not the victim of time, rather time is a commodity which like any other commodity I must use wisely. ♥

    1. Corinne, thank you, thank you for tweeting this post! I’m grateful! And like always, I walk away a bit more knowledgeable after reading your comments! I love how you say, “Time is a commodity which like any other commodity, I must use wisely.” You are a sage, Corinne. I have much to learn from you, friend. :)

  15. I’m not sure if Life is passing me by but know that I often wonder where time went, which has recently made me stop and wonder … much like you have in this post. I’ve always been a planner, so tend to look forward in time. I’m trying very much these days to focus on being more in the present. Nothing you can do about the past and the furture (no matter how I plan) is still pretty unpredictable, so all you got is the here and now. To be thoroughly and honestly present is difficult for me (escpecially when writing because we tend to bounce all over time periods, don’t we?) but my personal challenge for Lent (oh – and to give up potato chips too).
    ~A

    1. Astra, you are a brave woman for giving up potato chips! hee hee! Seriously though, it is quite challenging to live in the here and the now. There’s always someone who wants to make an appointment, see us in a week, plan something in a month’s time. Much as we want to stay in the present, external forces are always pulling us into the future or taking us back to the past. Hence, I can see why this would be a challenge for you and a worthy one for Lent! I’m constantly asking myself, where did the time go? I think this happens even more as we get older. Nana once told me that when you’re a child, it seems like time is standing still. But when you’re older, the weeks turn into months in what appears to be fractions of a minute. :)

  16. Sometimes as we age it’s easy to think that life is passing us by, but the truth is it’s not! We have more time to be creative and give ourselves to passions we simply didn’t have the time for when raising little ones. It’s not passing us by, we’re part of its fulfillment! Great post Bella, very thought provoking.

    1. Elizabeth, I love it! “We’re part of its fulfillment.” Beautifully stated, my friend. Just the other day I had a conversation with an acquaintance who just turned fifty. She told me that she is looking forward to her fifties since they’re touted as being the “prime” of a woman’s life. Like you mention, this is indeed a time where we don’t have to worry about rearing children, and this makes for extra time that we can invest on ourselves or whatever we like. I too am looking forward to welcoming this period in my life when it arrives! I’m thrilled you like the post, friend! :)

  17. Life is passing, Bella, but I don’t feel it’s passing me by. Does that make sense? I feel like life is moving along, and it’s our choice whether we move, too, or stay in a rut. If we’re unhappy with our situation, it’s up to us to make the changes necessary for us to find happiness. Well said, Lady!

    1. Debbie, I couldn’t agree more! And it makes total sense. It is up to us to initiate change, or not. At this point in my life, I find I don’t have enough time to complete all that has to be done. It’s like I’m on a hamster wheel and I can’t get off! But like I was telling Monica, we have to make time for a breather. Or collapse. That’s also up to us! hee hee! I’m so glad you like the post! :)

  18. When I feel like life is passing me by it’s usually because I’m not moving forward on something I know I need to do — house renovation, garden maintenance, writing, etc. As long as I’m moving forward I feel like I’m right where I need to be.

    1. Julie, well said. I too find that I feel stagnated when things are not getting accomplished by a certain deadline. Sometimes it’s in our control to accelerate the process and other times, we can’t control the variables. In either case, I still feel a bit helpless and frustrated. But if I’m moving forward? Then I feel totally fulfilled! :)

  19. After your bruschetta post, actually, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, too. I dunno what it is, but I feel like time is just going by so quickly, and I haven’t lived life like I had planned when I was little. I’ve also been thinking about how different “happiness” in America is compared to when I was living in the Philippines. Everyone here is consumed by money and working and paying the credit card bills. I feel like even though I tried to resist because I was aware of it at one point, I still am sucked into that mentality!

    I want to live somewhere where I can work 4 easy days a week, get a lot of paid vacation, and I don’t necessarily even need to get paid a whole lot– I just want to be able to travel and enjoy life especially since I’m still young. RIGHT?

    1. RIGHT! Now where is this dream place and how soon do we move? hee hee! Oh, Laura, I love you, girl! I too yearn to live in a place where I can only work four days a week and get a paid vacation. I don’t care if they pay me in coconuts for the week pay, as long as the vacation pay is in euros! hee hee! Seriously though, you have more energy to move at life’s quick pace when you’re young, so carpe diem, amiga! :)

    1. Hello Nate! I remember that phase in my life, though it seems like it was a hundred years ago! :) As you come into your own, establish and reach goals, plan a family, and so forth, you’ll feel like there is no respite. It’s go, go, go! But it’s such a hell of a ride! :)

    1. Leah, photos most definitely helps us track time. That’s one of the reasons my camera is always with me–I love being able to look back at what I did during the week or day. :)

  20. I haven’t felt life passing me by, but rather life pushing me forward while others get left behind. Like I didn’t have enough time with those people before their time ran short. I do need to start taking more photos, and posting more often. I’ve sort of started that since Thursday last week, and I seem to be doing alright so far!

    1. Kirstin, I think I know the feeling you’re referring to. I felt that way when a friend passed away at the young age of 18 (I was 20 at the time). I felt like, all the time she’d been there, and I hadn’t put much effort into spending time with her and getting to know her as I should have. I think that was one of the earliest experiences that taught me how detrimental it can be to take people and time for granted. Kudos on you taking more photos. I’m loving your more frequent posts! :)

  21. My original career path was acting and many people with whom I went to school have been very successful. Sometimes, I look at them and in comparison feel that I come up short and that life has passed me by. But when I take in my family, REALLY take them in, I realize that I am living a very important life; at least important to me.

    :-)
    Traci

    1. Traci, this is in part what I was referring to in my post. I find that many times in life, when we hear that friends or ex colleagues have prospered, it’s human to think, could that have been me? And I find there’s nothing wrong with asking yourself that. However, like you mention, it’s not till we do some real soul searching that we’re able to determine what really means to us personally. And isn’t that what really counts? :)

  22. Hi Bella, I have been trying to come and visit your blog but die to bad network havent been able to. I loved this observation of yours about life passing us by. How often I have thought about it. What is the purpose of my life? Am I dying anything worthy of this life that I have been given. But as I have grown older I have begun to believe that ,u life is worthy of something even if it is n small ways. I have had the courage to take that extra step and change my life for the better. Really needed to read this post to affirm your belief.

    1. Hello Rimly! I’m so glad you made it over here! :) You have no idea how many times I’ve asked myself the same question: What is the purpose of my life? I call these times, my existential crisis times but really, they allow me to weigh in on what I’ve accomplished, or want to accomplish that I still haven’t gotten around to doing. They also help ground me and keep it real. I don’t believe it’s productive to bash yourself in for what’s not in your control. Other times, like you mention, you derive courage to take that first step; a step that brings you closer to reaching your goal, whatever that may be. Thanks for adding to the mix, lady! :)

    1. Totsy, I think this comment was meant for the Person of Interest post but I’ll go ahead and say, that makes two of us. His prowess plus the suit? Oh my God! hee hee! :)

  23. Hi Bella,

    This is indeed food for thought and what a heady topic it is. Maybe, just maybe, a little part of me feels that way now as I go through my own economic recovery. There are things I want to do that seem improbable now and I wonder if/when I will find my way back to the same fluidity of movement that my spirit craves.

    Nonetheless, I have a deeply held conviction that it is all about your attitude. On days when I am determined to make the best of things, I am propelled forward. On days when I am down, the weight of the world seems determined to hold me immobile. Observation has taught me this fine truth and so I practice, practice, practice the art of elevating my mood to a positive place. In this way, I am fluid enough to flow around obstacles instead of letting them impede my progress. I am also much more careful about whom I let close to me as the vibes/thoughts around you can definitely get you stuck or unstuck.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful and necessary lesson.

    1. Coco, I’m with you, sister. I too believe a person’s attitude influences the outlook they might have on life. And given we’re human, we have to work hard at maintaining our positivity levels high because like you mention, when we’re feeling under the weather, it seems like progress slows down. I think we should all stay away from people with bad juju. I call them the toxic folk cause they have a way of sapping you of all your energy and long after they’re gone, one is still feeling grumpy. I’m so pleased you like the post, lady! I love it when you comment! :)

  24. It’s interesting that I’ve read this post at the same time when I am definitely feeling as if life is passing me by. Part of this is a yearly thing, and always happens when the weather gets nicer and I want to be anywhere else – even if it’s just sitting at home reading a good book and listening to the radio – but the office. But lately, I’ve been feeling like this constantly, and I think that comparing myself to other people is definitely the cause of this. But as another poster said, I’m also being bugged by it because I know there are things I should be doing that I’m not.

    1. Hello Girl! I know the feeling! All we can do is hope the feeling of being bogged down is transitory and that soon are passions will be reawakened with new pursuits. Here’s hoping this will soon pass and you find yourself doing what you want to do and what makes you happy! :)

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