The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short

My friend Gretchen Rubin, who created a very touching three minute video titled The Days Are Long, But the Years Are Short about riding the bus with her daughter (all parents should watch it), returns to this phrase in a recent post about the author Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She says happiness is listening to the Laura Ingalls Wilder books on audio CD with her four year old daughter. Here’s the last page of Little House in the Big Woods, emphasis my own:


When the fiddle had stopped singing Laura called out softly, “What are days of auld lang syne, Pa?”

“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”

But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.

She thought to herself, “This is now.”

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.

My Mom read all the Little House books to me growing up. My favorite is Farmer Boy which I’ve read several times.


Here’s Gretchen on why you should keep a one-sentence daily journal.

7 comments on “The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short
  • As a parent of 3 kids, now teenagers, I can say that video was way too schmaltzy for me. Although I attempted to live in the moment, as a single parent with a sick kid, many of those moments were difficult. My kids all seem to be turning out okay, so I apparently did my job well enough. But the romance of parenting escapes me.

  • romanticized or not, that was a tear jerker (or maybe I am just a sap. and if so, a proud sap). mercy. excuse me while I go peak at my sleeping daughter in the next room.

  • Farmer Boy was my favorite of the series too – combining my love of horses with my love of delicious food.

    Thanks for the video link; one of the best lessons I think one can learn from the plethora of personal development blogs & books out there is to refocus on the current moment you’re living.

  • I recently started keeping a one-sentence journal and I can imagine how valuable it’s going to be when I reread it in a few years. A cool tool I’ve been using is this 5-year journal,, (I make no money off it), that has just enough space for one, and at most, two sentences. Also a great space in the back to write the books you read doing that time period. A great way to track your days with the greater perspective in mind.

  • I like the concept in the video, that in the future, the the current present will be the past, and that we’ll be nostalgic for the moments we are currently experiencing.

    Pretty obvious, but at the same time, not something that is normally thought about.

  • I agree with Kylie that the video was a tear-jerker. I, too, am a sap. However, I don’t know if I agree that parenting is romanticized. There are both touching and trying moments as a parent. I think there are far more trying moments, but we tend to speak of the touching moments more.

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