The passage of time... is fucking... freaky. For me, the start of a new school year brings up feelings of nostalgia and longing and reflection. It brings up the harsh reminder that time passes and there ain't nothin' we can do about it. The idea of time passing and the fact we will never go back to the past should be simple and expected. The days go by and once they're over, they are just... over. I remember when one of my boys at 3 years old asked my sister "when she was going to be like one of us small kids?"and in the Toys R Us bathroom, she explained that once you're big, you're big and you don't become small again. He was confused and possibly a bit shocked by this news. Even as adults, this concept can be overwhelming and hard to grasp. Yeah, seasons come back and traditions continue, but we will never be able to go back to this day right here. Weird.
I came across a random and quite jarring video on Instagram by Ian Pratt talking about our death day. Knowing the time has come to die, and that every day you are ever going to live has passed. All of the opportunities that have ever been at your fingertips are now gone. You'll never see another sunset, hold another hand, eat another meal, say another word...The only thing left to do is to to take your last breath. Yikes, when you really think that through, it's terrifying. He goes on to say... And then all of a sudden your room fills with this bright, glorious light and an angel appears saying that she's giving you the chance to go back and live this day, the one you're in right now, all over again. How would this change today? How would it change your interactions? Would you be more patient? Loving? Intentional? Would you be able to let things go and focus more on what is important? Would you see the beauty in all the little things? Yeah, of course you would. It's the every day life that gets in the way of living this way every day. But no matter what, time passes.
Death has been on my mind a lot lately. Not in a depressing or scary way, just a present thought that comes and goes. Could be because of September 11th, could be because I am in my mid 40s and the passage of time has become very real, could be that one of my kids is now a junior in high school and his time consistently under our roof is dwindling, or could be that I have clients who talk about the last chapter of their lives quite openly. Or maybe because Jimmy Buffett and Steven Harwell died. Death thoughts or not, time is precious and how we live our life is even more precious. Living a life that fulfills us is imperative. Because... one day we will be on our death bed. No matter what. What if we could take away all of the extra right now? And narrow life down to what is most important to us, what lights us up and fills our hearts. Letting go of the shit that really doesn't matter. Paying attention to our triggers, and working through them with grace and self-love. Being gentle with each other. Having more fun and not just checking stuff off of the to-do list. It is possible. Or not. Your choice... but either way, time is passing.
Remember that song by Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime? "And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife... and you may ask yourself, 'well, how did I get here?'" That will be stuck in your head for the next week. You're welcome or I'm sorry... depending on your thoughts on Talking Heads. You know what David Byrne said about this song?
"We're largely unconscious. You know, we operate half awake or on autopilot and end up, whatever, with a house and family and job and everything else, and we haven't really stopped to ask ourselves, 'How did I get here?'"
So, ask. How did I get here? Hopefully you can immediately think of alllll the good in your life and what you've done to get right here, right now. But inevitably there will be thoughts of "how did I get here?" related to age, relationships, careers, health and vices. Our "how did I get here?" thoughts could look differently for each of us. For me, there are days where the age of my kids smack me in the face. I have been quite present and available throughout their lives, but there are some moments where it seems impossible that our baby is 8 and we have a son who could go to college in less than 2 years. Life just keeps on moving. Time just keeps passing.
I guess we all have two ways of answering "how did I get here?" on our very last day. Option one: "Well.. love, compassion, growth, connection, service and gratitude. I lived with intention. I laughed a lot and had fun. I did my best. I kept growing and loving even when it was hard." Option two:"FUCK. I have no idea. I lived so many days running the rat race that I didn't give enough attention to everything I should have. I let my ego rule and got caught up in societal expectations....I never took the time to look inward."
Personally, I will choose option number one, please. I will continue to ground and breathe and take care of my physical and energetic body. I will heal my shit and work on my relationships. I will lead with my heart and continue to grow and learn. I will continue to have fun, surrounding myself with people who bring out the best in me. I will go to as many Guster concerts as I can and see live music when the opportunity arises. I will do what expands my heart. And when shit gets hard, which there have been sooo many of those days this past year, I will fall deeper into love. I will not disconnect and turn away. I will ask for help and turn in toward my supports. Because for me, it's the only way going forward. I want my life to have meaning every damn day. So what about you? You choosing option 1 or 2?
There was a tribute letter written by Jimmy Buffet's daughter that I came across last week, and I loved these two quotes.
“Yes, he loved his weed and his wine, but the truth is, most of the time, he was just high on life, and that is what he wanted for everyone: to enjoy the fantastic trip that life can be.”
"My dad was the joy he sang about...He was generous with friends and strangers alike. He had a deep admiration for the people he worked with, and he never took himself too seriously, which is probably what I loved most about him."
Should we all live as fully as that guy did. And enjoy our life, day in and day out. And on the days when that just seems impossible for whatever reason, breathe. Life moves and so does energy. And please, choose option 1.
Guster with 6 out of 7 of us. I think this night expanded my heart for good. Missing Tyler, but he's come with me before.