Today is my birthday. I’m not putting that out there to solicit a lot of birthday greetings. Just letting you know the inspiration for this post.
On this date 40 years ago, I would have had much to look forward to – getting through junior high, then high school, then college. I didn’t know if I would marry or not so discovering the answer to that question would have been something in my future. If so, who would that special person (or persons) be? What kind of house would I live in? What kind of person would I be?
At that tender age, I often wondered what I would look like when I grew up. Now I know. Ugh. To quote Eubie Blake, "if I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." No, seriously. I think it must have been having a childhood in the time of “duck and cover” and a young adulthood during the plague years, combined with my naturally glum temperament, that led me think there was no point in vigorous exercise or consistent retirement savings.
Ooops. At least I have good blood pressure. I have blood pressure like a vampire. It may be my only talent. And, while I neither saved nor exercised consistently, I have always moisturized consistently, and like a vampire, avoided the sun. I suppose I can count the money not spent on Botox as saving. Right?
As for Time, the reality is, I don’t have that much left. I mean, relatively speaking. Even if I, like Eubie, live to 100, I have more years behind me than I have ahead of me.
That’s ok. I’ve had a good run.
But in the time that I have left, whether it’s a week or (God forbid) another 50+ years, there’s not so much that I can afford to squander what remains in the way that I squandered so much of what came before.
Squandered on what? Well, there was a lot of television. These days, there’s a lot of Internet. But mostly, I squandered time doing things I didn’t want to do – like being responsible. Bills have to be paid. “Stuff” has to be bought, hoarded, displayed, used and thrown away. Appearances have to be maintained. I don’t like to think of myself as the person who is obsessed with keeping up appearances but clearly I am, or I could have put any old cheap crap in the house. I mean, if I were left alone on the planet, like Omega Man, would I really be that choosy about the tile in the bathroom or on the fireplace? Would I really have tested so many paint colors?
Obviously, the homes we build are reflections of ourselves. We are all aware of that, whether we want to admit it or not.
So, back to the point, I spent a lot of time doing things I didn’t want to do or that were not the right thing for me to be doing, just because I caved in to life in a society that demanded certain ways of being and living.
But more than that, I caved in to fear and anxiety and misplaced priorities.
I take full responsibility. I will, of course, continue doing what I must do. Bills still have to be paid, even more of them now than before.
But now, now that I know how fleeting Time is and now that I know what is truly important to me and now that I can separate the wheat from the chaff and the men from the goats, I have no excuses.
If I focus on what is important, it should all fall into place. Don’t worry about results. Worrying about results is what led me astray in the first place. Don’t worry at all. Just breathe. Just do. Just be.
Be like the cat.
I can’t take back the time I’ve lost. Maybe it wasn’t lost at all. Maybe I was just incubating. But lost or not, it’s gone – long, long gone. Take the lessons learned and move forward.
Forward. Focus. Prioritize.
Remember how much Time is gone. Remember how much Time is left.
Stop being stubborn for once in your often-pointless life and trust in God. This is the path you were meant to be on. Everything happens for a reason.
Everything happens for a reason.
Let it happen.
Let go of reason.