We all have clocks in our lives—on wrists, on phones. The clocks might work, but does time work for us? By now, as Boomers, we should know something about how to use time. But maybe not.
If fortunate, we get up each morning, often facing hours that are carved out for us because of appointments or duties scheduled at certain hours. But if we step back and take a discerning look, our entire life is like that—it’s carved out to enclose certain events that take place at certain times in the life span—if we are fortunate. The surprise events (both good and bad) can either derail us entirely or make us stronger and more capable of staying firm on the road of our life.
Now I’m in a new state, a new house. That’s physical. But it also contributes to putting me in a new place mentally. How am I doing? I’m exploring that. Maybe I can help you explore where you are.
Within the past five years I wrote a post entitled Why Do We Cry? ( Let’s Look at the Numbers). I had many obligations and concerns about my family then, and the pace of my life, my Boomer Highway, was becoming overwhelming. All I really wanted to do was sit and play with my 18-month-old granddaughter. But she was far away in California and even when I was there, she was not cooperating. ..she cries and wriggles from me and clings to really just her sadness…she just wants her mother, my daughter (29)… or maybe a corner behind a door or a corner in her crib where she can howl, until exhausted she falls asleep. And when she wakes up, she might forget about her fever, have a blank page to mark on.
Oh for a blank page. A truly blank page. We all need that. To wake up to a day that is just ours, no one else’s. We can eat what and when we want; do whatever!
But there are those philosophical questions that often intervene. So I wrote: I’m getting older. So is the world. It’s all about numbers now…stock market numbers; the see-saw price of a barrel of oil…jobs lost in the first quarter of the year. And politics: on CNN, in the newspapers, on You Tube—all numbers. You can’t win if you don’t know the numbers. I wrestle with mine…
Sometimes I too want to crawl behind a door or get into my bed and blubber. But I don’t. The phone is ringing. Email and snail mail are piling up along with appointments and things called obligations. And there is always the question: what good does crying really do? I’m an adult. So I tell myself every day—we will be fine… Then I can go on.
Since I wrote Why Do We Cry, (Let’s Look at the Numbers), so much has changed. My mother (92) and my aunt (96) have both died, but I am at peace because I believe I gave them everything I could give. My husband (62) is retired, in a clinical trial for his chronic illness and feeling good—he no longer works like a crazy person but pursues hobbies he loves; my oldest daughter (33) now has a rewarding career, and just got engaged. My granddaughter is finishing first grade and has two amazing wonderful brothers, thanks to my other daughter (29) who is finishing writing a book. And my son (19) has moved to my hometown city, Chicago, and has a good job and lots of plans for his future.
WOW! That’s change. In Why Do We Cry, I wrote: In the best of all worlds, (62) and I, right this minute, would sell our home with the 4 bedrooms, and move to a comfortable cabin on a warm sea. There we could hear birds calling, watch them endlessly soaring into clouds shredded by wind and falling light. Oh where is that place? Our children are scattered. We need to sit tight, wait to see how it works out for them, wait for (92), wait for (96)…We must be poor planners. We must be like our granddaughter waking from her nap, forgetting to connect the dots. Why didn’t we sit down with those who are profoundly connected to us, those we love fiercely and say: now sit tight, wait to see what happens, don’t go too far—we might need you or you might need us; curtail your desires; be practical; only fall in love with things that are constant—like partners, careers, jobs, cars, even plumbing, electricity, and computers. Keep it steady, keep it even, keep it together.
But you and I know that life, that time doesn’t ever fall that way. Yes, many things have worked out since I wrote that piece. I am fortunate to be in a new place, a quiet place—near to the grandchildren, with time to write, with my husband by my side. But I still tell myself—we will be fine. Because that faith is part of how time weaves through our lives, how I got to this place.
What’s the take-away? I’ll be trite. Each day IS a gift. Each day can be a blank page and we should attempt to find at least an hour to write upon it something memorable, something indelible in the time-flight we experience. Like:
Sitting outside and listening to the birds or the tree frogs or even the sounds of people laughing and walking in the street—listening to life;
Picking up a book, newspaper, magazine or digital device and reading—expanding knowledge, being moved by poetry–the bumping of one word against another;
Holding on to someone we love and feeling the ultimate clock, our own heart ticking, beating in those moments when we share a patch of time. Being in life, in the moment and REALIZING that we are.
At the end of (Why Do We Cry, Let’s Look at the Numbers) I wrote:
The cabin by the sun-drenched sea floats in my vision, warming my body and my mind. Sometimes I go there and cry, not a frenzied cry, not an out of control cry—just one to help me release. There has to be some good about this crying thing. I’ve read about stress-induced proteins in tears. Crying releases them. Pain goes away. For me it’s that blank page. When I stop crying it will be like I just woke from a nap, my recent experience transformed to a page that is mine to take hold of, to set sail on—no scars, nothing chronic, nothing dying or lost. I will give it another go. It’s called trust. It’s called living.
I’m not living in a cabin by the sea. And I still cry. But my tears are softer now. They come when I think about my aunt, my mother or when I miss my two children who are still far away.
Boomers, is time working for you? Be in your life, be in the moment.
Do you agree?
You might also read: How To Fight Aging: Deepak Chopra Says Make Time Your Friend.