As a child, I proudly proclaimed my years on earth to the nearest fraction. “Eight and a half!” I exclaimed to inquisitive adults who asked my age in the middle of second grade. As a greying adult, I desperately grasp to latch onto anything concrete that will slow time’s runaway gallop.
Perhaps generations dating back a millennium felt the same acceleration as they matured. More likely, the rapid changes fueled by technology’s advances we experience in current-day society have intensified the sensation.
Anchors help decelerate the dizzying pace. Anthony Hopkins still makes movies, Mick Jagger and the Stones continue to grace the stage, and Tom Brady unretired to sling the pigskin. So when Queen Elizabeth died yesterday, I stopped to take stock. If you consider the monarchy an outdated institution, get wrapped up in its over-the-top pageantry, or fall somewhere in the middle, her passing gave pause. Elizabeth became Queen when Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin held power. She sat on Britain’s throne for seventy years, responsible for whatever ceremonious functions Queens perform.