The mid-40’s embraced me recently.
It’s funny to me because, like most of us, I don’t see myself as old as the age that time assigns to me. I fancy myself to still be in my 30’s, able to handle several nights in a row with little sleep due to parenting demands or staying up too late playing video games with my friends or imbibing a bit too much. I’d never really considered my age beyond it being a designation.
An epiphany in the strangest of places changed that.
Not long ago, I was camping with my family. I made my way to the daddy-long-legger houses that were marketed as public restrooms, and I crossed paths with a man who wore the look of a seasoned biker: short gray hair, matching goatee, tattooed arms. I said hello as he went past, my mind assessing him as being on the upper end of his 50’s. A flickering pity of him being older wormed it’s way into my thoughts, immediately followed by the realization that I am much closer to his age than I am to my imagined age.
This seems to be a silly thing to realize now, but it’s something I hadn’t dwelled upon. I piled year upon year on my body, but my mind remained frozen in a time of my choosing. I do not place a lot of worry towards the time I’ve used so far. I find that to be a fruitless endeavor. Can you change what you’ve put your time towards in past years? Doc Brown might say yes, but he’s fictional, and no one has come up with a real-life version of the mad dash to 88 miles an hour in a Delorean.
It makes more sense to me to invest yourself in the now. The present is the only thing you can be in, so I try my best to do just that. But I fail, and often. Yet I see that each minute that rolls past, never to be imprinted again, is an invitation to participate in the next one. It is these continuous invitations to being present that links me to the moment, trying to make each passing parcel of time better than the last. It helps when you have marvelous travelers with you on this perpetual voyage. And am I ever fortunate that the people I soar with love me as much as I love them.
My wanderlust-driven wife, Jillian, who pinwheels us through our time passage, wonderment and laughter our anchors.
Our daughter Aleya provides the awe at our place in this universe, binding us together.
Our son Kyle, brimming with questions and wanting to change the world for the better along our path.
Genevieve, our youngest daughter, storyteller extraordinaire. Her ideas are grand and poetic and beautiful.
Not-so-little Eric, our warrior who sings in operatic voices, reminding us to not take things too seriously.
Family and friends, near and far, leaving indelible prints that fossilize in our pasts so that we may cherish them whenever we desire.
These are my companions along the time line.
I may be middle aged by our time constraints. The gray wrestles with the brown in my beard, and my scalp has begun relinquishing it’s hold on my hair follicles. My midsection is softer and more rotund than I can recall it being before. Glasses rest upon my nose when I read as my eyes dwindle in their abilities. These are truths, and many might be inclined to place the label of “aging” on me.
The years don’t truly matter, you see. What matters are the snapshots of time that we store in our mental scrapbooks with those that care for us and about us. Those moments come fast and furious, but there’s glory in each one of them too. It may not be easy, especially in times of peril or worry, to open yourself for time to flow through and around you. It’s easy to be here, as we haven’t the ability to be anywhere else, but it is hard to be HERE. Completely, I mean. When we let the moments fly by, that is when we become old. Not when the years say we are, but when we allow our time to pass without us leaving our marks on it.