Over the weekend, my family and I celebrated my mother’s 60th birthday. To think of my mother as being 60 years old is somewhat troublesome to me, for the image I have of a 60 year old woman and what I know to be true of my mother are two completely different things. I’ve heard that 60 is now the new 40 and when I look at my mother, I think that must be true. Age itself is a stereotype. Deep down I know it’s just a number, but the numbers have the power of eliciting profound emotions. I still struggle with the fact that I’m 30. I never really thought that age would come. Is it really possible that I’ve lived 30 years? Could I really be 1/3 of the way through my life? What have I done with those 30 years? Where has the time gone? These questions creep into my mind every so often, and I have no real answers there.
After my mother’s birthday party, I was talking to my husband about a conversation I’d had with my best friend’s mother. She told me that Elaine and her husband Tim were going out of town for their anniversary this summer. It didn’t hit me until I was talking to my husband that the reason Elaine and Tim are going off alone for their anniversary is that it will be their 10th. TEN YEARS!! They’ve been married for ten years! I lay in bed that night pondering the meaning of this. For some reason, I found myself a little sad at this revelation. It’s not that I’m sad for them. Tim’s a great guy and they have a wonderful relationship along with two beautiful children. There’s nothing to be sad about in that. It’s more the fact that I can remember their wedding so clearly. Plus the fact that I specifically remember being with them on their 5 year anniversary, and that anniversary does not seem, in my mind, like it took place more than 3 years ago at best. I kept doing the math over and over in my head, but each time I came up with 10 years. I wondered, “What does it mean?”
Before I knew it, I found myself wandering back through my childhood. Elaine and I have literally spent a lifetime together, so I found myself thinking about endless sleepovers and birthday parties and walks home from school. I thought about Barbie adventures and Trivial Pursuit and pogo sticks and roller skates. I thought of North and South and The Winds of War, made for T.V. miniseries we must have watched hundreds of times. I thought of years of laughter, and conversations that carried on regardless of time or distance. I thought of summers in college, sharing a small apartment with friends, staying up through the night talking of life, love, and all that the future would hold.
In that moment, I finally realized what had been troubling me all along. My childhood had passed from a recent memory to a distant one. It was, and is, truly gone for good. It’s not that I want to go back and relive those days. I’ve come a long way since then. I fell in love with a wonderful man and we’ve created a beautiful child. We’re building a life together, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities it holds. Yet, it is a mark of passage for me that my significant memories of ten years ago are that of an adult. I am getting older. We are all getting older, and it is not an easy thing to reconcile yourself with. My question now is, when do we get wiser?
Blessings and Peace,
One thought on “Confession 21: The Trouble With Time, Part 2”
I think it was Mark Twain who mused on the relative smarts of his father based on his own age.Age, like wisdom is a relative concept. True wisdom is both acquired knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge to life. My advice is to fold your memories neatly and put them in your pocket for easy retrieval. Then, like Janus, look back when it suits you, but always remember– We live in and for the future which is our hope.
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