Thursday, November 5, 2009

Time Whips By

It's going to be one of those days. Writing something for the deadline.

Grappling again with where the time goes.

I turn around, and I am technically middle-aged. What? When did this happen? Where did that last decade go, anyway? I know where it went - living and having adventures with my husband, but you know, it's been a long time! I started the relationship as a young person. Okay, youngish.

It's as if I am standing still (or moving leisurely) while the world whips by me at tremendous speed. Not so much the people and events close to me. I see my friends and sisters and parents age, gradually. I've watched my husband grow progressively more silver. He had dark hair when I met, and more of it. He actually had a hairline then. It's not like a surprise when I turn around and he's looking so distinguished.

The small changes are perhaps too small to notice daily. It's when people and places/events are farther away from my primary circle that I really notice how things have changed because I don't see them every day. Going back to my childhood city at first was a shock; now I've gotten used to the changes. I'm getting used to the present-day faces of classmates I knew twenty or thirty years ago. Clearly, they must have changed in that time. They are who they are NOW. I just missed the transformation.

Maybe Einstein would have had something to say about relative time according to distance or proximity. Where's my diagram?

We are not so much attuned to the small and subtle shifts. Maybe I notice the time passing only when I am far enough away to really notice when things have changed, or when I am right there to see it with my own eyes? But even then, how do you really pay attention?

My little girl is not an infant any more. Those first three months passed by in a blur. And now that I can see the holidays approaching, I know that after that comes... *gasp* the first birthday. And I will be both thrilled and sad that my little girl is growing up, up, and up. I will turn around, and she'll be heading off to primary school, high school, college, the other side of the country or world, going on adventures. I think if I watch over her and take enough pictures, I will not miss her childhood, this dear heart, my child. Although I doubt I will be able to hold on to it. Life is always changing, new things arising, other things fading away.

And my own youth, mostly misspent? Gone. Gone! I still feel like a youngster. Well, except for my knees and feet, and heavier body, and those awful, awful chin hairs. Yeah. Even if somebody tells you when you are younger to appreciate where you are, who believes that? As my mother recently said, I can't believe I'm seventy!

The time just keeps whipping by as if I am not looking. Am I not looking? Maybe I need to be more aware? I will turn around and wonder why I didn't save more for retirement or maybe I'll be getting ready for my own death. Will I ever be a grandparent? There ought to be a theorem for how time seems to slip away faster and faster, the farther you go into life.

I can't grab onto anything. I think to myself: I must pay attention. Like a Thich Nhat Hanh devotee, I should savor the orange of my childhood, or was that the cookie? I must remind myself that every moment is like that orange or cookie. Sweet and quickly devoured, so fast that we barely taste it.

Thay's poetry reminds me I am of the nature to grow old. If we didn't age or see changes, how would we ever know that time had passed?

A shift of the light, a shift of the season, a sprinkling of white hair that was not there before.

We are in the thick of Autumn now, coming up fast on the end of the year with its holidays and family gatherings. I think I must make the most of my moments, quiet or jovial.

I can't grab time, and there's no point in watching it, but I suppose I should look at its passing out of the corners of my eyes, smiling when my daughter finds each new accomplishment. She revels in making silly sounds and faces and waiting for her mother to laugh and smile back. I brush back her hair which has suddenly, it seems, become thicker and blonder.

No comments: