Remember those grade school days that lasted forever. Recess and lunch broke them up, but the end of the day seemed always to be hours away. Time was slow, with lots to learn. We were good at living in the moment. On the perfect days, we didn’t worry about what happened in the past or where the future was taking us. We didn’t even think about the abstractions of passing time. We lived fully present in the moment. Someone told us when it was time to play, learn, eat or sleep. There was so much to do in every second that the days passed slowly by. A school year or a summer vacation was an eternity. Waiting for the next Christmas or birthday was a seemingly endless amount of time.
Gradually we learned how past actions impacted the present. We built up a reputation centered on small and large accomplishments. We could hit the ball and win the game. Answer teacher’s questions and learn new skills. Time moved faster as we grew and filled our life with experiences. We stopped enjoying the current moment, dragging the baggage of the past and the hopes for the future into all of our actions. I can do that. I can’t do that. I am an expert; I am a loser. It all crashes together as we try to figure out our place and purpose.
We wish to move on, and go past the eternity of school. Progress is steady but at a snail’s pace. Then one day it is gone. You will continue to learn but the formal requirement is complete. The diploma says you are qualified. No one will ever look at it. Your actions and accomplishments become your qualifications. The paper says you know how to learn, what you do in life is your ticket to survival.
The working world exploits your skills and fills your days. Sometimes it consumes nights, weekends and every available moment. Families grow and jockey for attention. Every cycle is consumed, years fly by. You can’t even list a handful of items from any particular year as you ride the hurricane of life in the fast lane. You do your best to be sure your work provides for your family and try to maximize the quality time with friends and family. And then it is gone. Children grow up and move on to their own life, work ends with a retirement party where you buy the pizza.
Some days life speeds by, other days time stands still. You learn to appreciate both. Time becomes a friend, the meaning of your story falls into place. The good, the bad, the joy, the sad, combine to form a mosaic you cherish. It is mostly understood with a few rough edges. A few things to sort out, project work to complete our observation.
I could dwell on the things that didn’t go so well, instead I choose to be happy with the whole picture. Without the negative the positive would not seem so rich. Time still speeds by, much like the hurricane days of mid-life but more appreciated and more time is spent loving the current moment.
Don’t cry when my final moment ends we all will reach that point. I am thankful how rich and full my journey through time has been.