“Time marches on” “tempus fugit” and the like, are expressions of the (necessarily) repressed panic and general disquiet in the understanding that, at its best, our lives are short stories. The all too common expression, “killing time” is the obverse of reality–time is killing us.
While great scientists perform basic research to extend and prolong life we live with belief the constant mantra of our mortality. Some look to the morphine of religious belief, others, and others to rational philosophical thought and acceptance
Pliny prescribes the reading of good literature as an effective balm for this common discomfort Such practice connects our various lives and events, good and bad, to man’s common, universal experience; we can recognize ourselves and our life’s events as an actor in the universal drama of life as portrayed. Didn’t Shakespeare famously say, “All the world is a stage….”
While there is certainly an almost infinite variation in plot character and action we are enabled to see universality in their representation. “Been there, done that” is expressed felt as an all-important and reassuring revelation.
The metaphor describing vanishing “footsteps in the sand” may be avoided; the footsteps portrayed by the various literary geniuses over the ages are the same eternal footsteps we leave. . .