Sunday 1st July 2018
Time is Passing. Are You?
These words were printed above a doorway at Glenwood High School, in Canton, Ohio. I passed under those words every day during high school—they weren't meant to move us along. We weren't supposed to loiter in the halls—we were meant to keep moving. In the past few years, those words have come back to haunt me over and over again; now they mean something radically different from their original admonition.
This past May I lost my brother David. His loss has been a huge wake-up call for me; a reality check that yes, I am really on 'borrowed time'. In other words, life is short, there are no guarantees as to how long we'll live, and if there are things I want to do, I better get on with it.
I've actually had this 'phone call' before, as I've lost a number of BFF's over the years, mostly to cancer. After every friend's passing I was both deeply saddened by their loss, and grateful I was still among the living. Every time I renewed my determination to live life to the fullest; fill every day with energetic meaningfulness. But over time (usually a fairly short time) I put that phone call 'on hold' and just got on with living my life as usual—out of work hours (and work always came first), life was hectic, peripatetic, impulsive, and sometimes reckless. Out of work hours were spontaneous, unorganized; shifting to whatever took my interest.
There were three things that helped me toe the line—work (I have actually always loved to work, probably because I was doing work I loved), writing (enough said) and vacations (ditto). These activities framed and occupied the bulk of my time; they defined me, grounded me.
I am now retired from 'work'. Vacations are no longer three weeks of frenzied activity I've saved up for all year (or years!). That leaves me with my writing and I've been very grateful this past year that I don't have to squeeze writing into a mad morning here or an afternoon there.
But I still haven't managed to find that elusively magical balance between living mindfully, in the present, and planning ahead. I still have it in my head that spare moments must be filled up, like a tire with low air. I still haven't sorted out a schedule that makes sense regarding life's activities, such as meal planning, shopping, and cooking. I wake up most mornings unsure what I'm going to do, and that makes me uncomfortable. Time is passing, but I'm not!
So once again I'm at it. The calendar is out. I've pushed the re-set button on my diet. I'm trying to schedule each day so that I accomplish some writing, but also start or finish something that needs to be done. I don't know if I'll ever get it completely right, but there's no time like the present to start! Wish me luck!
There is nothing like looking at a photo of yourself taken almost 50 years ago to exemplify the passage of time. If it wasn't for old photos, I might not know where the time went!