I am now 46 years old. This continues to be shocking to me. I’m awed by how fast time goes and am served constant reminders. “Classic Rock,” is now Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Metallica and all the others from my youth. To me ‘Classic Rock’ is Led Zepplin, The Doors and The Blue Oyster Cult.
In addition I read the Columbus Dispatch everyday on my iPad and even the comics now serve this reminder.
Many of the comics of my youth have now disappeared from the daily syndication. No more Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Funky Winkerbean. They have been replaced and I don’t know when they disappeared and these new comics begun. What is shocking is the realization that I’m now even older than the parents in these comics when I had previously identified with the kids. I’m older than the adults!
And where are the ‘adults’ from my generation? They are now in their 70s and their parents have almost all passed away. I’ve spent the last 23 years far from my home state of Ohio and thus only been to a handful of funerals, mostly within my own family. I’ve never reflected on the fact that the people I considered ‘grandparents’ are now gone. In some aspect, I still consider them to be around, that I’ll probably run into them should I attend church or go to a local festival. They’ve disappeared and now more than a few of my contemporaries are grandparents. What a strange thought, it is one I do not like to dwell on.
Throughout my twenties and thirties I still considered myself ‘young.’ That ended after forty. Now, I’m confronted with a few gray hairs of my own which thankfully, have taken their time given others my age went gray or bald years ago. Fifty years old is not far away and more evidence of my age starts to appear. I no longer understand new words from the young such as ‘skibidi,’ and have no desire to look them up. My oldest son is about to enter high school and it won’t be long until he is physically stronger than me. Old friendships, given time, distance and political discord have frayed. I always used to give them a call when in town to get together. They never called me.
Time is short. I’m acutely aware of the importance of spending time with family, of having experiences. The show is more than half over for me. In some ways I feel quite alone in my understanding of the importance of time and using it wisely. In our society everyone is caught up with work, making money and the trifles and drama of the day. It is as though everyone is thrown into a rapid stream and they swim the best they can with the currents and go wherever they will take them. They have very little control over their own lives. How many step out of that stream to consider the beginning, the end and everything in-between?
Furthermore, most cannot even remember their own lives. Could anyone tell me what they did on September 2nd, 2012? How about any day in September of 2012? How about any day in 2012 at all? The only hope is trying to remember an important event and then if it occurred in the year in question. We go through life forgetting with the only link to the past being what now appears before our eyes such as children, material items, a physical or emotional scar, and our very personalities crafted through decades of life experience.
This blog becomes more of a treasure to me everyday. I can simply look up September 2012, read and remember. I read high school entries about joyful and energetic friends excited about an unknown future. They are now weathered by time, by responsibility and often the harsh realization of midlife that the future is here, the decisions have been made. “You are where you are.”
Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rainTime – Pink Floyd
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And so on Friday, November 17th 2023, a “time in the future,” from the viewpoint of the young man inside me, I’m writing this post of reflection. I need only pull up 2013 where I’ll read my own words that say “I’ll soon be 46,” and wonder where the last decade has gone. I write these words again today but with one small change.
I’ll soon be 56 and wonder where the previous decade has gone.
Just read this in a CNN article about the No. 1 regret of dying patients. It is perfect.
In the daily grind, it’s easy to fall out of alignment with what is most important to you.
But living with an awareness of our own mortality fundamentally changes what we value and how we choose to use our time. It unmasks the frivolous, empty pursuits our culture often validates.
Does the response to your social media post really matter? Does it matter what car you drive? Does it matter that a friend group boxes you out of their social circle? If they let you in, do you really want to spend your precious time with them?
Fully embracing the fact that we are not going to live forever brings our values into sharp focus. When the dermatologist tells you she wants to biopsy an irregular-shaped mark because it looks precancerous, you likely are not thinking about the high-achieving image you have carefully constructed to present to your colleagues.