A stitch in time saves nine. I didn’t know what this proverb meant until recently. I always found the proverb ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ so unapproachable. A bit like a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and never look a gift horse in the mouth. Other proverbs are a lot friendlier, for instance ‘don’t cry over spilt milk’ or ‘count your blessings’.
But I would love the thought of stitching time if it were used in a different way, because stitches perfectly depict times ticking clock. They are neat and predictable, connecting each moment to the next. I like the thought, but I find the reality is so different. Time might be regular but moments can swell and conflate reality. Some events in my life might have only taken up a few ticks on the clocks turnstile, but they are lodged in my memory forever. If time ran in real time, it would be like fast forwarding a film and then playing in real time and then slowing it down, to concentrate on each movement and gesture of the actors. As though the universe is saying ‘Ill fast forward through this bit’.
Time has never played with me as much, though, as when my first child was born, because she started a new timeline. It was as though she was a tiny actor who had come to amuse me for the rest of my life. I felt as though I was watching my own life, but on a new frequency. It was as though so far I had been one radio station and I was being moved to another with no choice or input. Every year I ask myself when will it stop? When will my children become complete people? The lack of control is obvious, but this carried several undertones which I hadn’t banked on and which I had no idea existed. Much like ‘sliding doors’, this life sped ahead without my input and completely in tally with my own. And what about all those other lives? A stitch in time creates another nine lives.
I have nearly lived all of mine. I am working on the presumption that this is the salient one, as that is what I am told. But what about the me that is still in London, still in Poland, still in Italy?
The truth is that we still don’t know what time is; I don’t want to get too technical but some scientists even believe past, present and future all exist simultaneously, and to me this is comforting. It neatly explains why I have to pinch myself sometimes to come back to the present.