We are all the ages we’ve ever been. That means that inside my 57 year old self is that little four year old boy in the picture above, who thought he looked pretty sharp, even with his pants pulled up past his navel and black suspenders – essentially dressed as a Borscht belt comedian from the 1950s.
Somewhere inside me is also the twelve year old boy inside who discovered Science Fiction novels and disappeared inside them for many years.
And, that teenage boy who fell in love for a lifetime with the girl next door, and the young father, and the grandfather who, six years ago, lost his first, precious granddaughter to complications from heart surgery.
I am all these people, and hundreds, maybe thousands more. So are you, right? No matter how people know you now, there might be no one that thinks about you like you do yourself, in all your incarnations. There have been so many losses in my life, I realized the other day that no one is left who really knew me during all my incarnations. My parents are dead, my sister who was my best friend is dead, my nephew who was raised as my brother is dead. All the people who might have known me through all phases of my life are gone.
Here’s the thought I want to emphasize now… It all went by so fast.
I know that to your 2017 eyes, that picture above is dated. It is black and white and has furniture and clothes in it that have been out of style for four decades or more. But to me, to the memory I have of being inside that boy — it wasn’t very long ago. And that little girl standing beside me? Her name was Denise, and she was one of my earliest friends. She’s gone now too, passed away years ago. It all goes by so fast.
Life is good right now. I am able to follow my life-long dream to be creative. I spend hours every day writing my stories, or my silly Facebook updates or this blog. I spend every day with that same girl-next-door, who these days is the girl-next-to-me-in-bed, which is a very good thing. I would like to find the pause button somewhere and push it so I can slow things down for a while.
I was talking to an online friend the other day. His job requires that he spend a great deal of time with people who are living out their last days. He told me that the most common thing he hears from these dying men and women are not complaints or regrets. Instead, he says, so many of them say “It all went by so fast.”
There is no solution, of course. No pause button. The only thing to do is to spend as much time as possible with the people we love and doing the things we love. Savor the flavor of life, suck the marrow from the bone, because it will all… ah, you know.