Friday, August 12, 2016

More Time on My Side, Please

The Persistence of Memory, Salvadore Dali, 1931

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

~ Ben Franklin

There really is no time.

One of my favorite Facebook friends drove 674 miles and parked his recreational vehicle at a campground a mere stone’s throw from my front door last week and it was a gargantuan challenge to peel off time to visit the guy.

I chatted weeks ago with another Facebook pal who lived near where I grew up, 90 minutes away from where I am now, and I promised to let him know the next time I was in his neck of the woods so we could shake hands in real life. This morning his daughter posted that he died.

My firstborn, Amelia, is a quarter of a century old and three of my other four are teenagers already. One has her driver’s license and gets mail from colleges trying to lure her away. The other two – who argued just yesterday about which cartoon to watch – now argue about which one gets to move the van out of the driveway so they can shoot hoops.

My 11-year-old hauls a suitcase full of makeup to every sleepover and demonstrates mad cosmetology skills that were inherited, I assume, from her mother. Just yesterday she was waddling around in a diaper, flashing her Mariana Trench-deep dimples and demanding mommy’s breast.

My mom – the active, energetic single mom who brought me along to concerts and carnivals, decorated my bike for Fourth of July parades and played with me at Camp Dearborn and Cedar Point – turned 76 a few weeks ago. My dad, who plays pickleball several times a week and can still probably kick my ass, is closing in on eight decades of life on Earth.

I know this isn’t news to anybody that the clock keeps ticking and picks up speed as the years accumulate. There are songs, books and bumper stickers galore pointing out that time waits for no one; everyone from Norman Vincent Peale, Abraham Lincoln and Leonardo da Vinci to Dickens, Jefferson, Twain and Shakespeare at one time or another uttered some nugget of wisdom about its passage.

The thing is: there’s knowing something, and then there’s feeling it. You know the burner on the stove gets hot but feeling it is something else entirely. I feel time slipping away now. I feel the seasons changing and the sun setting and the holidays speeding by. I feel like I have less energy and a need for naps. Daily naps that last longer than a sit-com.

I stopped glancing at the obituaries because I spot my age next to the names of the dearly departed too frequently these days.

I stopped spending so much time in Facebook and so little time with my kids. (They don’t really want to be with me but sometimes they forget.)

I stopped avoiding the gym.

I stopped sleeping until 11:00 and staying up until 2:00.

I stopped sneaking Pop-Tarts, Oreos and Pringles from the pantry.

And I stopped refusing to set long-term goals. I figure more structure and purpose could lead to better management of the time I do have and more years among the living.

Sadly, none of this guarantees that my life will be longer or I’ll have more time. I expected things to be different when I became this age. I expected more achievements, more successes, more laurels on which to rest. I haven’t yet become what I thought I would be. I don’t want to die before I grow old.

I need more time.

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