My last series of posts dealt with our Past, Future, and Present, and the pitfalls that come with each as we carry our cross. For those of us who are blessed enough to be entrusted with a very seasoned cross of childlessness, we will often experience feelings of hopelessness and despair as we watch others' children grow. The elementary school photos of a friend's children, a friend who used to trek through the dregs of childlessness with us, captioned "Where has the time gone?" may at first make us feel like responding, "Into my uterus." But the next reaction may be one of surprise and shock - the surprise that these 4, 5, 7, 8, 15 years of childlessness have gone by in a blink of an eye. Because, for us, time seems to be all at once at a standstill and rapidly passing us by. Both dragging, and speeding up.
And it's in those moments of recalling the past 8 years, all that has transpired in my life, that I reflect upon the old addage: "Time Flies When You're Having Fun," and beg to question its rationale. I don't know about the rest of you, but retrospectively, I see how time has flown whether my Funometer was at 0 or 100. In fact, the more I thought about it, it seemed that time produced its greatest casualties when I was decidedly NOT having any fun.
But it wasn't always like that.
I remembered a time, a time when I was posing for elementary school photos, when a day in my life seemed so important, so defining, that to this day, those days are engraved into my frontal cortex. How is it that a 24-hour period can be remembered for 25 years, and 5 years can be summed up with memories that wouldn't even fill an hour? When I was young, even in High School, I lived for the day. I didn't always have fun, that's for sure. (Hello, Junior High School, good to see you. Now, please leave.) But I always recognized the importance of the day. I lived it, I experienced it, I cried about it, rejoiced about it, screamed about it, but whatever I did about it, I did it with gusto, and I did it so well that I immortalized the emotions, the sights, the smells, and the sounds associated with each day. I don't remember each and every day in vivid memory, now. But, if someone were to say to me, "Imagine you are back in 1998," let's just say it would not take me long to be back in that place. Interestingly, if someone were to say, "Imagine you are back in 2007," I wouldn't be able to do it as easily.
Some may argue, adults, namely, that until an adolescent grows into adulthood, they lack the wisdom and understanding that the "little things" don't matter at the end of the day. Some experiences, like having an argument with a friend who means a lot to you, may feel much more emotional in our youth as we envision the friendship coming to an end, or dramatize the making up and the rebuilding of a lifelong bond. In adulthood, we realize that these "little things" are nothing to invest so much of our emotion and time into; that rather, "Que sera, sera." There is wisdom in that. Letting go. Releasing any sort of control over the situation. But what is even more wise is to acknowledge the wisdom of our youth- because we are missing something in adulthood that they have: Living for the day.
Perhaps our days were more *fun* back then, but then why is it that waiting for Summer Vacation after Easter seemed like it took YEARS? Why is it that waiting for a kiss during the movie felt like an eternity? Living these moments, truly living them for what they were, and not just "getting through" them, is what made the experience last longer in our minds and in our hearts, whether good or bad. And since time is a gift, after all, I really think we should be savoring it - and having fun with it, whether for better or for worse.
As adults, we feel the responsibilities that go along with our stage in life more keenly than in our youth. But that does not need to rob us of our joy in allowing ourselves to experience what we're living - and live what we're experiencing.
Slow down. Live for the day - like a child.