Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Irrational Adults Discuss Time

"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save." - Will Rogers

Let's take it for granted that although I am technically an adult, because I don't feel like one (and nor do any of the reasonable people I know), when I refer to 'adults' I only refer to those people who think they know better because somehow their age has made them smarter than the rest of us. (Of course the idea that age can make anyone smarter than someone else is bosh--its experience, faith, and knowledge that does that.)

If there is one thing an adult has said that has changed my life and the way I think, its that 'Time flies.' I remember hearing it when I was in elementary school, and I remember thinking 'What a load of balogna. The days are SO long.' (To be honest, I probably couldn't spell 'balogna' in elementary school, but you get the idea.) Of course, I didn't mind the days being long then. But as time has gone on, the days have indeed become shorter.

I can't remember when it was that I decided to begin noticing the days pass. I was certian that if I took note to the time of day, remembered to feel the difference of temperature from hour to hour, watched to see when the plants were tricked into thinking it was spring, kept the blinds open to notice the colors and shadows the sun cast across my room, I would live a longer life, and remember it as something sweeter. I think that's true--I have better memories of those months I paid special attention to over the ones I let pass away without a thought.

But it's not about JUST noticing the days, it's about doing something with them. I decided then that I didn't want any single day to be like that last. Even if the only difference from day to day was that I spent dinner with a friend, or I laid out in the sun for an hour, or I watched a movie I'd never seen before, as long as it gave me a memory I'd never be able to relive, it'd be different.

Since making that decision, it's become harder and harder a rule to live by. Especially now, with my job. Everyday, from 8 to 4:30, is the same. I sit in a cubicle, and never see the sun. I come in, leaving the 8 o'clock morning sun, and come out to greet the 5 o'clock afternoon sun. I'd have some consolation if I enjoyed my work, but I don't particularly. I do enjoy the people I work with which is why I feel its my responsibility to stay. So I convince myself that these 4 months aren't about living--they're about earning money so living will be possible.

One problem. You can't go on and off on life like that--be miserable now so you can be happy later. Or be happy now and pay for the consequences later. It's about finding a balance. And this is what I've been thinking about lately.

So here's my problem--the experience that makes me angry enough to write it down: Adults have always said 'Time flies.' So I took it to heart. I thought 'I am NOT getting to year 30, only to realize that I squandered years 1 through 29.' But now I'm at year 20, thinking seriously about what I want to do with life and adults are telling me 'Stop worrying. You have plenty of time.'

. . .

If that contradition doesn't make your blood boil, let me explain why it does mine. First of all--WHO is worrying? Who is freaking out? Not me. Thinking seriously about something doesn't even imply that I'm freaking out just because I don't have an ironclad, bulletproof, and foolproof plan. It just means I'm thinking about it.

Second--I've watched people realize that years have gone by in a space of time that felt like mere moments. Sometimes making decisions takes years. People are 30 before they realize they wanted to be married by 25. People are married for 5 years before the realize they wanted to begin having a family 2 years ago. People are 40 before they realize that they never did anything to make their dreams realized. It DOESN'T mean they led meaningless lives--ALL IT MEANS is that time flies.

So I'm thinking seriously about my future because there is so much I want to do. If I wait until I'm 30 to BEGIN doing the things I want to do, or seeing the things I want to see, it just won't happen. By the time your 30 you've got a thousand responsibilities, children, debt, and a steady job. Those are good things; don't get me wrong. And it won't be the end of my world if I'm on my deadbed and wasn't able to do EVERY single thing on my list of 'Things to do before I die' but I want to know that I did what I could to see the world, to experience life, and to come closer to God. I want to know that I didn't squander years 1 through 29--in my own way, on my own terms.

So I'm going to think about things now--right now, while I still have the time to change the things I'm not happy with, save money for things I'm not willing to let slip away, accomplish the things I think will make the world a better place, and feel the things that will make me a better person. And if that bothers you because it took you 29 years to get where I am today, don't tell me I have time.

You can't wait for life to happen to you.

Isn't that something else adults say?

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