I Feel Like My Life Is Passing Me By (A Short Story)

Updated on June 14, 2020
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok likes to experiment with creative writing and revealing stories that inspire readers with a relevant and enlightening experience.

A Short Story of One Man’s Lifespan

I wake up and cry for no particular reason.

The room is empty, and no one is around to help me, but I hear voices not too far away in the next room.

The start of a new day is beginning, and people are scurrying around.


I recognize the smell of breakfast my mother is cooking, although it’s only baby food for me since I don’t have my teeth yet.

I try to stand up and hold onto the bars of my crib. I look around the room and become curious again. I’ve been getting more curious each day.

I want to examine the room, so I manage to climb the bars over the top.

I ease myself down the other side of the bars to the floor. I made it! I got out of my crib.

I crawl along the floor and around the room. Examining every little thing I find along the way, not yet knowing how to put a name to it. I recognize various objects, such as those two similar-looking artifacts that my mom puts on my feet when she dresses me. One on each foot, I think she called them left foot and right foot, but I can’t say it yet.

Those are not going to be my first two words.

Baby Socks
Baby Socks | Source

I worked my way to the corner where two walls of the room come together. Interesting place. I can lean up against either wall and change my position against the other wall without much effort. Life is so simple. I never dreamed about what might be lurking just around the corner.

Uh Oh! I see my mother coming into the room. She looks in the crib and seems to be somewhat shocked. She calls out, “Where are you?” I watch her as she looks around and quickly discovers me. She picks me up and…

Well, it’s the same thing every day. It’s so nice to be taken care of with love. No worries in the world.

The world? What’s that anyway? Is there more of existence beyond these walls. I wonder what exactly exists in that world beyond. Is it as simple as everything I’ve been discovering lately?

I wake up again...

The room is cold. The heat didn’t warm the house yet since it’s set lower at night.

I'm told I will meet some other little children today.

I'm wearing some strange new clothes, unlike anything I’ve ever worn in the past 1460 days of my life.

I’m driven to a new location where I find other small people just like me. I can look right at them without looking up. There’s no more strain on my neck. They’re my height!

Some lady instructs my parents to leave and let me get used to the place. She explains to them that it’s time for me to learn to be comfortable with other people.

The following days are enjoyable, playing with the other kids, twirling around the merry-go-round watching the other kids fall off. Sometimes I’m the one who falls off, but I get right back on. For me, it’s just fun. I never give any thought to the fact that I might be building confidence.

Children on Merry-Go-Round
Children on Merry-Go-Round | Source

One of the taller people gives us socks to make into hand puppets of all sorts of creatures. We put on a puppet show using our creativity with no input from those taller people. I think they call them adults.

Those puppets weren’t alive. What is the definition of life? At the tender age of five, I pondered that question as I manipulated my puppet and made it persuade other creatures to come together in an entertaining but manipulative drama.

Little did I know what I was doing. I just had the passion for being happy doing fun things.

Everything we did at that age was accepted without judgment—what a fantastic way to feel good about yourself.

I wake up again...

Another school day again. The teacher asks everyone to sit in the same seats they sat in yesterday. She seems a little pissed.

I can’t quite remember where I sat yesterday. I make my best effort, but I guess I picked the wrong one. My teacher comes over to me and yells, “You left a huge mess in your desk yesterday! Now you will be punished!"

Desks in Classroom
Desks in Classroom | Source

I’m dragged off to the principal’s office and given some sort of lecture that I can’t remember. I guess I didn’t care to listen to what he was saying. I’ve learned a valuable lesson that day. Don’t listen to the ignorant.

I get back to class just in time to see how the ABC’s are written in script form, instead of printed. Wow! How artistic!

I wake up again...

I wake up to a stormy dark day. It was too miserable to go out.

In the evening, I was sitting in the living room with my parents. It was already dark outside, and all of a sudden, it was dark inside.


The first thing that came to my mind was that I didn’t want my elderly parents to get hurt walking around in the dark. After all, they were more than twice my age. I told them to stay where they are, and I’ll go down in the basement and check the circuit breakers.

As I felt my way along the walls and down the staircase in the dark, I remember how once I was afraid to go down in that creepy basement alone. Hey, I even remember when we had fuses instead of circuit breakers.

I came back up the stairs to announce that everything is okay with our house, and it must be more than just us. I looked out the window to discover that the entire neighborhood was dark.

I wake up again...

I jump out of bed with the eagerness to start the day.

I'm excited that today I'm picking up my first car. I saved enough from various chores and my allowance to buy my own car.


I think my father inflated my allowance because he knew I needed the car to drive to school when I started college, but how did he know I would save the money and not throw it out on silly things. I guess he just knew me and trusted me.

I don’t know what came first—his trust in me, or what I did to earn that trust. Maybe it doesn’t really matter! It works either way.

I wake up again...

I’m alone in my apartment. I moved out at the age of 20, so I can have privacy. My mother was always keeping too close an eye on me. My father trusted me, but there were times when I could have used some guidance with major life-changing affairs.

Oh well. I made my own judgment calls on a lot of life issues. Some I’m glad I made and some I'll regret forever. That's life. I was living life to the fullest.

We may be feeling alive at the time, but we take it all with us when we leave.

I wake up again...

My first day to go to work. My first real job.

I had calculated how long it takes to get to work and what time I needed to leave.

Based on that, I figured out when I need to wake up to have time to get ready and leave the apartment to be at work on time.

Finally, I figured out what time I needed to be in bed each night to get a full night’s sleep.

I followed that rule I made for myself pretty well, so that I was always punctual, and people knew they could trust me to be on time.

Nevertheless, I discovered that sometimes other things in life get in the way of following planned routines. We just need to accept that and do our best with changes caused by external forces that we have no control over.

I wake up again...

I need to rush to get the house in order. I’m having a bunch of friends over for a BBQ. It’s a lot of work to be the host. But it’s nice having friends over, and they reciprocate by inviting us to their parties.

I know how to be happy and feel alive. I've heard that I should treat every day as if it’s my last. We never know what's around the corner.

Socializing with friends is an indispensable part of life. There are all kinds of friends from all breeds of life. If nothing else, the meaning of life is to be there for one another. It’s a life worth living.

I wake up again...

My head is spinning, and my girlfriend asks if I’m okay. I tell her, “I’ll be fine. I’m just a little dizzy.”

She gets up and prepares to go to work. After she leaves, I get out of bed to get ready for work too, but I discover I can’t stand up without falling.

The room is spinning around me, so I stay in bed, hoping I’ll be able to go to work soon. However, I never get out of bed and lose track of time.

Later, my girlfriend called to check on me. She called for me at work, and they told her I never came in, so of course she was worried. I told her I couldn’t even get out of bed, and she came home and took me to the doctor.

It turned out I had an inner ear infection that created vertigo. I recovered. It was just one of those things that happen in life.

I wake up again...

The phone rings.

It’s my mother calling to tell me my father died in the middle of the night.

I say I’ll be right over, but for some reason, I follow my regular routine. I brush my teeth. I take a shower. I have breakfast. Then I leave to drive over there.

Feeling guilty for not just dropping everything and running, I ask myself, 'Why?'

Maybe it’s just my way of handling it. Perhaps it’s some form of denial. Maybe it’s okay.

Maybe it’s just my way of handling it.

Perhaps it’s some form of denial. Maybe it’s okay.

I wake up again...

I get out of bed and look in the mirror. I see an older man with gray hair and a face I don’t recognize.

Life passes by so quickly. Where did the innocence of childhood go?
Life passes by so quickly. Where did the innocence of childhood go? | Source

On the surface, I understand what is happening, but I still ask myself...

“Where did the time go?”

"What have I accomplished?"

"How have I changed the world?"

"What dreams have I fulfilled?"

Did I ever fulfill my dreams? Maybe some of them were never meant to be. Did I even want them anyway?

Without concluding with any answers, I start a new day wondering why I never felt the passion I felt that one day many decades ago when I woke up knowing I was picking up my first car.

Why didn’t I experience that intense feeling of excitement ever again? An emotion that once made me feel alive! I hadn’t felt that excitement even when I bought my first house. The feeling of aliveness was over.

Where did the innocence of childhood go?

I wake up again...

My eldercare aide adjusts my bedsheets. I’m fed my morning breakfast, a light liquid soup that I can easily swallow.

I’ve been bed-ridden for several weeks now. I hear people talking around me, discussing that they don’t think he’ll last long. Are they talking about me?

I wake up again...

I need to treat this day as if it’s...

...my last.

© 2011 Glenn Stok


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    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks Robert. That's an excellent summary explanation of what I attempted to do with this short story.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      2 years ago

      A good story about the stages of life from beginning to end. It does it with a series of days that are snap shots of the characters life at particular stages.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I loved reading this it made the circle of life complete with waking up again and again.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 

      8 years ago from Winnipeg

      Really great take on how fast life passes us by. You realize it until you get older, but every day is so special. Thanks for sharing your stories, Voted Up!

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      8 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thank you to everyone for all your insightful comments. I actually wrote this hub as an experiment to see what I would dream up as I progressed through the story. As I continued writing, it brought emotions to the surface.

      I wasn't initially planning to write it for a Hub. But when I was all done, I thought I really should publish it.

      Not knowing what reaction I would get, I am pleased to see all your comments. Thanks to you all.

    • louiseelcross profile image

      Louise Elcross 

      8 years ago from Preston

      Wow! It is so true that we are here for a short time only. I can only hope that many read this hub and then get out there and enjoy life. Thanks for a brill hub.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Life does pass too quickly. Since I own an agency that provides non-medical home care for adults, I know this all too well. Those times of youth and wonder pass all too quickly.

    • billabongbob profile image


      8 years ago from South Wales, UK

      The tears roll down my face as I identify with each one of your 'I wake up again'. Life rolls by until we reach an end, we are lucky enough we will grow old.

      My first grandson has just turned 1 year old, my Father will be 74 next week, so I guess that makes me middle aged :(.

      Amazing hub :D

    • sasanka7 profile image


      8 years ago from Calcutta, India

      Wonderful...awesome... I appreciate wholeheartedly your way of expression ... your lucid language ...the idea...the philosophy of life in a nice way. Thanks a lot.


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