I recently viewed a great interview between Barbara and Laura Bush. It was part of an online parent-child interview series titled “Talk to Me.” It was warm, engaging and honestly very touching, as the former First Lady reminisced about her life and shared insightful words of wisdom with her daughter. Near the end of the piece, when asked what she wished she’d known at 34 years old, Barbara’s own age, Laura replied that it was how short life is and that time passes so quickly, a lot faster than you think it’s going to, and to take advantage of every single minute. The truth of those simple words struck me deeply, and I wished that someone had shared them with me when I was younger, because I didn’t grasp them at the time."The trouble is, you think you have time." - Buddha
Time IS so fleeting but you don't realize that when you're 20 or even 30. You don't realize that in the blink of an eye, you'll be at the midpoint of your life; no longer facing a seemingly limitless number of years in front of you, but instead a finite number. No longer counting up, but counting down. Funny that; it seems I blinked and I'm middle aged. I don't necessarily feel old, but I don't feel young either. I don't have the same idealism of my 20s. I'm a little more cynical about life and people and the world in general. I still believe in the innate goodness of human beings and the fact that there's more good than evil in the world, but now I look at people with a slightly more skeptical eye. While life and time hasn’t diminished my belief in true love, I have grudgingly accepted that not everyone gets a happy ending.
Granted, age is just a number; 48 is the new 38. No? It seems human years have an ever-changing equivalency these days, kinda like dog years. And while I'm not in my dotage, I will confess that though my dreams still linger – a white knight, a happily ever after, writing the next great American novel –reality has reared its ugly head and made me more cognizant that the odds are against me. I'm content (an underappreciated state) and grateful for my countless blessings, because there are many - great and small - despite the lack of a sweeping love story or life-affirming personal accomplishment. In all honesty though, now my grandest hopes and dreams are reserved for my boys, my knuckleheads.
Here too I blinked and my little boys are gone, replaced by two young men bursting at the seams with plans for their future; time leaving behind only the sweet memories of their childhood. Gone are the squirmy little beings that I gently cuddled in my arms; gone are the little boys who smiled with gap-toothed pride when I arrived to their special friends breakfast at school - an honor on par with a knighthood from the queen herself – at least in my heart; gone are the young boys who on a bright blue-skied mother’s day walked across a soccer field to give me, their aunt, two bright yellow roses to mark the day (the roses dried for posterity and in my dresser drawer with countless other mementos); in their place instead are two handsome, amazing teenagers, proudly making plans for proms, sharing photos of new girlfriends, celebrating their teams latest soccer wins and one - dare I say it - packing for college. What will the next blink bring? Hopefully, two amazing men – healthy, happy, fulfilled, loved, and at peace.
Time waits for no man; I'll share that bit of wisdom with my boys, so it doesn't come as news or a surprise to them when they're 48 like me. I'll remind them to enjoy every moment, strive for every dream, live it to the fullest, enjoy it, and bask in the beauty of each new God-given day before it slips through their fingers and most importantly I'll remind them that it all means a little less if they don't share the journey with those they love.