Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)

"Time Flies!"

December 2001
Second Wind
Lomita, California

             Dear Friends:

The passage of time is constant.  It is determined by the physical characteristics of our universe.  Everything we do has a time limit.  Time is also expressed as speed.  Thus, we talk about the speed of sound and breaking the sound barrier by aircraft that travel faster than the speed of sound.  Seated in the Concord over the Atlantic, you notice that the cabin is silent because of traveling faster than the speed of sound.  You get to New York at an earlier hour than when you left London, yet three hours of time have passed.  Thus, the trip did not gain time, even though the clock suggested otherwise.  When you cross the International Dateline by traveling east, you don’t really gain a day.  Time has passed, but was it fun? 

Time can seem to slow down, when you are not having fun.  Remember the dental chair and waiting for news about surgery on your spouse, or your child.  When you are having fun, time flies. 

So time is constant.  Time flies whether you are having fun or not.  Time doesn’t care.  You should cherish the time you have and plan to have fun for as much time as you have left. 

            I will be in touch next month.

Your friend,

            Thomas Petty, MD

Published: Feb 22  2002