“I suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward.” ~ Mary Sarton
It is said that in the beginning, man was one with eternity. All aspects of life were contained in one being, the feminine yin and the masculine yang, both perfected, knowing all, witnessing creation as a watcher of infinity.
But then, our fall from the eternal sent us into the folds of time, upon a tapestry that with its weaving also becomes unwoven. As man became self-aware, he became bound by the laws of nature, bound by the walk of time and finally, by his own thought, to the forever rolling cloud of limitation which occupies all minds.
Here in the sphere of time, we move forward. In our linear construct, we grow old. With nature, we complete our own cycle, born into entropy.
We are born, we live. Then we die.
It’s a funny thing, this concept of time. Whimsical in its nature, nearly sadistic in its application. One could look at it as a sick cosmic joke, placed upon man for personal entertainment—a movie full of what-if’s, mistakes and triumphs, horror and comedy.
We identify with time, and time identifies us. It speaks of how old we are and how age has defined us. For nature is bound by time as some would contend. But so, too, are we bound by nature.
As I’ve recently entered my 42nd year of life, I’ve noticed an increase of existential thought. Arising much more often, I find that questioning the inevitable is pointless, but the question within me prompts different actions. This being a natural part of aging, one must question his life, his contributions to it and his place in the world.
Yet, even now, time moves on and I feel a surreal contentment.
One should not fear age. Though we all act as if we’re going to live forever, it isn’t until we begin to feel the first effects of decay that we do look upon our lives much more reflectively, and wonder how it all passed so quickly.
Again, Father Time playing his trickster hand.
But, as I’ve found recently, life becomes sweeter with age.
A recent event took my son and I along with family for the day. Among a sea of people and a cacophony of music, under a clear blue sky peppered with high floating balloons, I realized again what our simplest forms of thought may teach us all. And as my son looked on in amazement and wonder, pointing at the balloons floating above us, my thoughts returned to the purest essence of time, true eternity.
Life is about the moment.
It is all about the choice we have within each and every moment. All the same, if we’re not careful we can also watch moments slip away.
We can be engaging or distant, enamored or walled. We can feel love, or push it away. We can smile at the joy in our children’s faces, or become lost in our own thoughts of self-defeat and ignore life happening around us, marching along its own walk of time.
The choice is always there.
But then, what can I truly say about aging? After all, I’m only 42. Yet, what I can offer is a very simple thought that I’m sure will grow over “time.”
The life we choose to live can be sweet or it can be bitter, and it all depends on how we engage with the moment. Additionally, the people we choose to share our lives with can add complement or chaos. So it becomes important to forge the bonds that will stand the test of “time.” And finally, the love and joy available is truly palpable, and always here in splendor at every turn.
We must only embrace it.
And this is the true key to happiness. Just as hot air propels the balloon sky-bound, so too does the element of joy push us toward recognizing the simple nature of a good life.
And then, all we must do is keep it inflated, and fucking enjoy it.
In life, there will be moments of regret. There will be moments we all wish we could repeat with greater clarity. And yes, there will be failure, defeat and loss. But we are not bound by these experiences, instead, we are all built stronger because of them. In fact, life would probably be pretty boring without them.
Enjoy your years. Play hard, love deeply and kiss passionately. Take risks, be bold and try things now, while you have the means, remembering that opportunities never afford a waiting period.
Keep the people you love close, and see them often. But perhaps most importantly, let time dance on its own… while you keep the rhythm.
Embrace all that you love and engage the moment. Find your joy, and you will once again know the eternal.