Last Friday, I was standing in front of my dresser in my dorm, shoving a pair of jeans into my duffel bag to go home for the weekend. Despite being in a bit of a hurry, I stopped for a second, when I noticed the framed photo on top of my dresser. It’s me and my little brother when we were 7 and 3. We both look so young and small, the two of us hanging on a railing at a park that I don’t remember. He’s smiling wide enough to show his dimples, and I think about how long it’s been since I’ve seen that smile.
I also thought about some weird words I’d learned a few days before. I read them somewhere on the internet and, although I’m pretty sure they are completely made up, I liked them enough to jot them down in my little notebook. The first one is “adomania,” it’s the idea that the future is coming quicker than it’s supposed to, or coming ahead of schedule. The second is “senosyne,” the sense that time keeps going faster.
These two words applied perfectly to my feelings looking at that photo. That Friday was also my brother’s 16th birthday. Thirteen years after that photo was taken, I still see him as that cute but annoying little 3-year-old with short spiky hair and big brown eyes. But now his hair is longer than mine, and I have to ask him for help reaching dishes in the cabinet.
I finished packing and got in my car to drive home. Google Maps said the drive would take an hour and 15 minutes, but it didn’t feel very long at all.
I didn’t get to see my brother much this past weekend because he recently got a job and was working practically the whole time. All I could think was that I couldn’t believe he has a job — he’s so young. But on Saturday night, I went to the high school production of “Footloose” because he was playing in the pit orchestra. He plays the clarinet, and he’s so talented. He’s only a sophomore, but he’s already so much better than most of the other students in the band. I know, I’m biased, but I have proof. There’s this competition for high school bands in Arkansas. This kid got 16th chair, first band. In other words, he’s the 16th best clarinet player in all the high school bands in Arkansas.
The play was good. Mostly what you would expect from a high school production with plenty of faulty mic moments and a few actors that outshined even the leads. But instead of listening much to the lines, I was trying harder to hear the clarinet. When it was over, he came up the aisle to say hi to all the family that came to see him play. I watched as he talked to our older brother and smiled wide enough to show off those dimples.
It wasn’t a big deal, and the moment didn’t last long, but right then, I remembered the third word I scribbled in my notebook.
It’s supposed to describe that moment when you realize you’re happy, right there, in that moment, at that time. As I stood in the aisle of Love Auditorium, my family laughing and people rushing around us toward the exit, I felt that. I was happy.
There are several reasons why I’m scared by the idea of time moving so fast — adomania or senosyne, whatever you want to call it. The first is that I don’t know what I’ll be doing in the future, and I don’t feel prepared. I don’t have a plan yet. The other is that I feel like I’m missing things. My baby brother just turned 16, and I have no idea how that happened. I feel like I’ve missed him growing up. Maybe I was there for a lot of it, but then I left for college and all of a sudden he was someone different. But when I saw him last weekend, already 16 and employed, I realized that I’m having so much fun watching him grow up and getting to know him all over again.