How often do we spend our time wishing the future would come? Wasting precious time on tomorrow, instead of appreciating today? We all do this, regardless of age.
Waiting for summer vacation.
Waiting for acne to pass.
Waiting to graduate.
Waiting for that perfect job,
Waiting for that perfect soul mate who will complete us.
Waiting for children.
Hoping they’ll grow out of diapers and the need for constant vigilance sooner than later.
Waiting for grandkids.
Longing for the days we can retire and do as we choose.
Then wishing we had more to fill our days and hearts.
Looking back and wondering where all the time went.
Already the summer is almost over. Before we know it, another year will be gone. Time is a strange concept. Ever noticed how it can be as slow as molasses in the moment and yet feel like it zipped by in retrospect? Even during all this craziness it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact we’ve been dealing with this deadly pandemic for a year and a half!
Time is relative and dependent on where we are along its spectrum.
Only in her twenties, my niece is never satisfied with her perfect body, unending stamina and opportunities in front of her. Already disheartened at the time that has gone and the lack of progress she’d hope to achieve by now- in both her personal and professional life.
When I look at pictures of my daughter growing up I still remember periods when I was sure I looked awful but didn’t want to miss memorializing a special moment. Years later those very pictures made me question what the problem had been that almost prevented their existence. What had been so upsetting that I almost said no? Now, with age and distance the very issues I must have been worried about- age, weight, hair… are no longer relevant. And with the passage of time I actually envy and wish I had appreciated more the face staring back at me.
That’s what time does. It offers perspective. No longer enmeshed in the job, child rearing, toxic relationships, issues of the day, we can see what we couldn’t back then. At each point in our lives we are often too overwhelmed by circumstances to stop, take a breath and see who we really were and how much we had accomplished. If we had, we would have appreciated ourselves more. Instead of peering at a photo years later and finally admiring the stamina, endurance and force of will it took to get us where we are today.
When my grandmother was in her eighties she would tell me stories of her youth. Born at the turn of the century, women didn’t have the right to vote or own property. She lived through the Spanish flu, depression, two world wars and the loss of a child. Cars were considered science fiction and birth control was never discussed so family size was left to fate.
She used to show me pictures of her family. Each represented a period of incredible strife. Yet the love and fire burning in her eyes never wavered. In one she’s a teen amidst dozens of women taken in the “parlor” at a family gathering. It’s one of the most breathtaking pictures I’ve ever seen. Women of all ages and sizes staring into the camera all saying one thing- we are a force to be reckoned with.
Looking back over eight decades she reiterated what so many her age have tried to impress on the young. It’s not how you look, the things you acquire or the job that defines who you are. How I wish I had listened to my elders and spent more time valuing those I can no longer hug, laugh with ,or talk to. In the end they are all that matter.
We all know time is precious. But too often we forget it’s finite.
Too often we forget to value the present.
We all need to plan, work towards and anticipate the future. But not to the exclusion of today. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the issues of the moment.
Look at those around you. They won’t be here forever. And neither will you. Time will tell who our mate will be, if we have children and the type of adults they become, careers we choose, successes or failures we accrue. For now, let it go. Look in the mirror, see the breathtaking person it reflects and make this minute count.