I can’t help but see time everywhere lately, the lack of it, the amorphous state it occupies, how it is in flux like so much water in a bottle, pulled here and there. Solid but not. Invisible yet, tangible. I can’t help but feel time now in a way I couldn’t as a child, as a young mother. I’m approaching 40, just starting to see it, and with it comes the novelty of the fact that my thirties are almost done, and the reality that death may not be far.
Partly this is because my mother was 43 when she died, and I now know, I mean really know, how young that was. But I’m old enough at 37 to realize I’m likely halfway through the life I’m going to have. Which if I’m honest, is a long time. I think back even to my youngest daughter being born and it’s like yesterday and forever ago. So I know it’s not like I’m going to turn around and be 85 and dying.
So why does it feel that way? I remember believing, truly believing I wouldn’t live to see my 30th birthday. Had I stayed on that path, I likely wouldn’t have. I had no hope for the future, no dreams, no desires. I just was. Yet now, I want to live, I want to see, I want to know more. Is it a lizard brain response, to what to live, to want to experience? Do I just want to never feel the pain and terror death is likely to bring?
I don’t fear death. In some ways I’m curious to see what happens. But the trouble with being an atheist is that an ever after of nothing isn’t very compelling.
I can’t help but turn the idea, the essence of time, over and over in my head like a marble. How funny it is, as wel slip from living in the now of our childhoods to the increasing amount of time we spend living in yesterday and someday as we age. When do we lose the ability to stay present? Why should we?
Those around me age. My father grows older, my father in law every day is closer to losing the battle he’s fought with cancer for years. I can see myself in these battles, see my children in 30 years time, putting up with me gently, and maybe not so gently. Remembering when I loomed large and tall, filled with hope for a future they couldn’t yet believe in. A vast ribbon of continued memory, stretching behind and beyond us.