A whisper at your shoulder,
A cloud in your smile.
A dark companion,
Silent at your side.
How do you unknow
What you know?
How do you not hear
The stealthy stalker at your back?
How do you laugh, sing, love
With this shadow on your mind?
How do you dance with death?
In his post, How Not to Kill Time, Hugh got me to thinking about our perception of time and how that changes with…well, time.
Hugh uses the analogy of a toilet roll, the nearer you get to the end, the quicker it runs out. With more years behind me than in front of me, I find that to be true. Summer afternoons that used to last forever are a blur now. Days bleed into each other until I find myself asking Google for the date because I’ve lost track of what month it is.
I spent my youth wishing time would move faster, waiting for the next holiday or birthday. I wanted to kick time into high gear when my kids were little, longing to be me again and not mom.
Now, when my kids have kids of their own and I can see my end date looming on the horizon, I want to slow time down. I want to stop it altogether. So many lives I haven’t lived while I was busy living mine. So many things I haven’t done …
I can’t stop time, of course. None of us can. The best we can do is treasure the moments. Sunshine on water, or trickling through the leaves of a tree. A hand holding yours. Shared laughter. A smile.
What is life, but a string of moments?
Is it the same?
After all this time, are we the same?
I don’t know. How would I know? How can I compare who we are now with who we were then…?
The years rolled on, shit happened. Evasions. Lies. Large and small hurts delivered in anger and in silence.
Shared memories and secret smiles. Mornings rushing around or sleeping in. Frenzied days and wild nights. Laughter … I don’t have to try to remember the laughter because we laugh still you and I.
I wasn’t looking to get married all those years ago, not that we could back then. I was looking to get laid and so were you…
And here we are, forty years on. Thinning hair, and rounding shoulders, and still looking to each other—to get laid.
But inking the words on your arm, doesn’t make it so.
When the grey creeps in and reading glasses become a part of your face. When the drugstore clerk gives you the senior’s discount without asking. When parts of you sag and other parts ache, it’s hard to convince yourself that age is just a number…
Because it damn well isn’t.
Age is a natural, physical progression. Fight it if you will, deny it if you must, but there’s no getting around the clock—it’s ticking.
The question is, how do you deal with this unwelcome truth? How do you enjoy life now that you are closer to the end than the beginning?
I can do without the adult education classes on subjects like How to Get the Most out of Your iPhone Photography. What I need is a course on How to Get the Most out of What’s Left of Your Life? Now that, I’d register for.
In the meantime, I’ve found myself a guide, an instructor on aging well. Someone who leads by example, a personal testament to the little known truth that fun doesn’t end when wrinkles begin.
Eighty-nine years old and wearing a wet suit for the first time to get up close and personal with a dolphin.
You won’t find Molly in a rocking chair on a porch, but try the casino. Better than even odds, the second slot machine on the left? She’ll be there.
“Do you want to go to…?”
Molly’s answer is always yes, because she doesn’t sit at home when she can be out and about, preferably out an about in another country. She keeps her passport in her purse, knows her way around an airport, and can figure out the Euro to Canadian dollar exchange faster than Google.
Molly dances with her great-grandchildren, takes her latte with whipped cream, and plays cards. Any and every card game, as long as there’s a bet on the table.
She’s always busy, always doing, and always looking ahead—to the next trip, the next wedding, the next stranger she can turn into a friend.
Molly’s my guru, my touchstone for living, one day at a time 🙂
Your walkway is buried under two centimetres of ice, your driveway is a skating rink, and you’re holed up inside waiting for summer.
The snowplow cleared your street by depositing thirty centimetres of frozen slush at the end of your driveway, and you’re booking the first flight to Hawaii.
Endure or escape, those are your only options when Frosty the Ice Man stands in for Mother Nature — or are they?
Cory Hamilton in Saint John, New Brunswick thinks not.
To paraphrase the old proverb, When life hands you lemons…
When Mother Nature throws down the ice, get your skates out 🙂
I throw stuff out. If we’re not using it, it’s gone … I wish. Unfortunately, I share my house and my life with someone who likes to keep things. What if we need — insert article of your choice, anything from a noisy fan to an god-awful soup tureen — this someday?
If we needed it, it wouldn’t be hidden under five years of dust.
We’ve been negotiating this divide for decades now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Our place, yesterday:
“I’ve going to have these old family videos converted to digital files.”
“You still have to keep the original tapes. For backup.”
Huh? The whole point is to get rid of these things!
I’m guessing that my brilliant idea to scan pictures from our pile of photo albums — which we almost never drag out of the basement — and toss the albums won’t be appreciated.
I spend a lot of time muttering about hoarders, but …
This morning, in a drawer that in my opinion needs to be organized, I found two green plastic bangles. Bracelets that a nineteen year old me had purposely left after a first date. Forty-two years ago and my husband still has them.
Maybe some things are worth keeping 🙂
You know about the cold, and the snow, and the igloos we all have in our backyards — didn’t fall for that last one, huh? Okay, busted.
I have a fir tree, one stubborn rose bush, and a miniature putting green in my backyard because no one in my house can be bothered to mow a lawn.
I’m not saying the travel brochures are wrong. We do have mountains and lakes and ski hills, or so I’ve been told. I spend most of my time in traffic so how would I know?
What the tourist blurbs don’t say is that we’re all just a little weird up here. We do things a little differently — even kidnapping.
In Alberta, a woman and her baby were forced into a car, her father shoved into the trunk. The weird part? The kidnappers were neighbours, went to the same church, and for some reason were — naked. No guns, no ransom notes, just … skin. Apparently, someone had been at the hallucinogenic tea.
Could Alberta just be ahead of the curve? Will the rest of us be flinging off our clothes and dragging our neighbours out of their houses and into our cars next summer when recreational marijuana becomes legal?
Nah, we’ll all be too busy sitting on our couches, surfing YouTube, and scarfing down space brownies 🙂