So This Thing Happened …

Archive for January 2016

So let’s talk about time today.

I understand that we need the chronology of time in order to navigate this world, in the same way we need gravity.  Without either, things would be, well, a mess.  Hunger alarms can tell me when I should eat (yeah, like I wait that long) and heavy eyelids let me know when to sleep.  But how would the showing of Star Wars, The Force Awakens and I hook up?  See, I understand we need the concept of time.

But the more I accumulate of this chronology thing, the less I understand the value. What I particularly don’t understand is our tendency to hold on to it, to try and hit the pause button.

I write this as I sit at a desk that was mine for eight years, in a community that was mine for twenty.  But in the past seven years and ten months, my life has been elsewhere.  And by this evening, it’ll be there again.  So today I think backward and in a few hours I’ll begin to think forward, while in each case, trying to gently bring myself back to now.

Why is it so hard to think in the present?

And in the Cause & Effect department,  “time” produces an even more perplexing concept:


Tomorrow I turn 62 and I think that’s partially driving this post.  It isn’t my “age” per se.  I mean, yes, I’d prefer to forego the wrinkles and creaky joints and yes, I’m wondering if I should do some future care planning.  But for the most part, I’m cool with my age.  It took about a year, but I like being in my 60s.  It’s like having permission to gleefully not give a shit about unimportant stuff on so many levels.  Or more specifically, to have the clarity to see how increasingly unimportant so many of those things we value really are.

The part that has me totally flummoxed is —


And that’s the part I just can’t grasp. Seriously. It seems like about 30 years or so have passed. I have maintained friendships with people I’ve known since my childhood and teen years and when I talk to them, without consciously thinking about it, I feel no different from the person I was at seventeen. Or seven. Or whenever.

I’m about the hit the 400 word mark, so it’s time to tie up these somewhat disjointed musings.

What’s the bottom line?  Well, it’s not very original, but still resoundingly true:

The passage of time is a constant in this life.  It doesn’t stop, it keeps moving, and there’s nothing we can do to change that.  But the hard-to grasp good news is this – that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.  Not only can I accept 62, but I also accept that next year will be 63 and – if I’m still here – ten years from now will be 72.  And that one of those years, I won’t be any longer.  The clock is running and eventually I will get a big “DING! Time’s up!” And that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.  I don’t exactly know what’ll happen next, but I know something will, and it’ll be some kind of adventure that I couldn’t possibly grasp yet.  But good.  I know that.  So what the heck …

My wish for you and for me, today and within all these crazy increments of time is simply to keep reminding ourselves to be present and to keep remembering to enjoy the moment, big or small, tender or funny, intense or easy.  It’s ours. And it’s ours to do with what we like.

Happy 2016, gang.

(click for James Taylor, still singing about the Secret of Life, 2010)


James Taylor, from JT CD cover. 1977



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