Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The strangeness of it all...these numbers

I am 54 this year. Two years older than my dad will ever be. My mother who is an independent 73, just realized that she still has Christmas cards going out with both her and my dad's name on them. She broke out into laughter wondering what everyone must have thought. My brother Don is struggling at 52 with lung cancer that is not giving him a moment of peace. Is there a way to give him one more year, one more day, one more hour, one more minute, one more second? My brother Larry just celebrated turning 50 with a wonderful surprise party in his honor given by his wife. He and his friends sang all night as if they had never stopped singing. They are bandmates for life. My youngest brother still in his forties will become a grandfather in a matter of days.

The strangeness of it all. I am in a waterfall that does not stop.

These numbers keep falling away.

Why do the numbers matter at all? We are obsessed with marking out the milestones in our lives and then pretending the number does not matter, when of course it does. It is how we compare and measure ourselves, where we are in our lives and how much time we may have left. That is the usual "unasked" milestone we quietly mark in our minds. We look at it with a fleeting but focused stare and then look away as if to confirm to ourselves that it does not matter...yet.

When I was young, I could not wait to be a teenager.
At 16, I could get a car.
At 18, I can vote.
When I become 21, I can go to the bar.
And so on. I found myself wishing time would hasten so I could get on with my life.

Now I just want it all to slow down so I can take it all in and enjoy every moment. It catches me off guard to realize that we are 10 years into the 21st century. Wasn't it just a second ago we were worried about our computers and y2k change-over?

My daughter turned 33 this month, dammit! Is my son really almost 28...next month? When did I find time to have all these grandchildren?

It is probably that we are in winter. People ponder the year that just went by. We take stock. We make lists of events that took place in the past year. We give one last solemn nod to those that we lost. So it is with each person to look back over the year that was so that the New Year can be greeted with excitement and hope. I find myself doing this today.

Is there a way to freeze time, if only for a little while so that I can catch my breath. For this life is truly breathtaking. I just want to take it all in.

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