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Jon K. Rust

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian and co-president of Rust Communications.

Another year has passed, way too fast

There is a cuteness about watching kids walk into their school. From the disproportionate size of backpacks to creative hair styles -- in my girls' cases, different braids -- they take a bit of a parent's heart with them as they slip away through the school door. I'm sure it's the same feeling watching them step up and into a bright bus, entering a world of fun, learning, friends and challenge. In Cape Girardeau and Jackson, most schools will have come to their last days this week. Another year, for parents: flown by.

Older people used to tell me, "Enjoy these years. The time will go by fast." Now I'm an older person, reveling in life with my wife and four girls between 6 and 14 years old, but this year, wow, it seemed the school year just started. Where did it go?

Scientists tell us there are different reasons that time seems to speed up with age. Among the theories, as we grow older our lives are filled with more routine, and routine is not imprinted upon our memory like new things, causing the memorable events, in reflection, to stick out through jumps in time. To slow time down, scientists recommend engaging with novel activities, recreating the childhood years when learning was fresh and remarkable and frequent. Other scientists point out that when you're younger, a year of life amounts to much more time of existence, percentage-wise.

In the article, "Why our sense of time speeds up as we age -- and how to slow it down," Santosh Kesari, a specialist in such things, was quoted: "For a 10-year old, one year is 10 percent of their lives. For a 60-year-old, one year is less than two percent of their lives." The relativity of it causes time to seem faster when older.

This weekend my father celebrates a birthday. Number 84. A man of insatiable curiosity, he's always leaned into new experiences. And he loves to celebrate those who strive to do new things -- whether they succeed or fail -- as long as they try their best (and, ideally, have a good tale to share afterward).

I can't imagine what time is like at 84. But I do know what love and joy look like, and I see it my father's eyes when he is with my mom and children, and they talk about life and school, interests and country. I see it whenever he shares stories about friends and grandchildren, about our town, about our church and pastor.

On these pages, we've frequently quoted "The Man in the Arena," a speech by Theodore Roosevelt. There's a reason; it reflects my father's values. Here it is again, worth noting.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

As my girls grow older -- I hope they, too, "dare greatly." Thank you, Dad, for creating an example, living bravely and celebrating others. Happy birthday. Another year has passed, way too fast.

Jon K. Rust is publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

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