Day 204: Time Isn’t Holding Us; Time Isn’t After Us

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask  yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am  I right?…Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My  God!…What have I done?!
— Talking Heads

I think I have always been an existentialist at heart.  At eleven years old, in 1981, watching David Byrne move through “the water” of the video Once in a Lifetime meant something to me.  I already understood that experiencing life meant questioning it, analyzing it, feeling it, and enjoying it.

Lately, this song has been running through my head often.  Does anyone else think how did I get here?  I know I went to school and worked hard and fell in love and had babies and started a career, but what is this number that is associated with me?  What is this 42?  42 at 22 sounded so old; it sounded like all of those people who were out of fashion and out of the know.  Yet, at 42, I do not see myself this way.  I think I am kind of hip and with it, and inevitably every year in October when I let the cat out of the bag and tell my students how old I am, they are shocked.

“Really?” This nice young man said last year in Brit Lit.  “I would have put you at like 30.”

Thirty– at thirty, I had my first baby.  At thirty, I felt like a baby.  At thirty, I did not know where I would be at 42.  I know I did not expect to be here, but here is where my highway led to.  I laugh at what I thought life would be.  I laugh that I planned for something that never came to fruition.  I laugh that I thought I wanted things I do not have and yet, I am happy.  I am happy because it’s the people in my life that make me happy, not the things.  The people with whom I associate are true and kind and care and laugh and love.  The things are just things.

Sometimes, when I am standing in the kitchen of the house that I pay the mortgage on and realize it is my kitchen in my house, I am overwhelmed.  Sometimes, when I am standing in the kitchen of the house I pay the mortgage on and I am washing the dishes I love that reflect my personality, a little person walks into the room and says, “Mommy” — I look at the face of one of my girls, the face that is my face and not my face, the face of a person who is an extension of me, but not me and I am stupefied.  I own a home.  I am a mom.  These are my children.  They depend on me.  They look to me for answers, for support, for knowledge, for guidance.

I know that I do not have answers; well, at least not all the answers.  I can say “no” to a third cookie and I can explain the quadratic equation, but I do not know where life will lead.  I did not expect life to lead to where it is, and I do not know where it will go, where it will end up.  Nonetheless, within my experiences, I have found that the easiest way to happiness is to be happy.  I guess when the girls start asking the really important questions– what’s-the-meaning-of-life type questions, I will tell them this:

Cut the bullshit.  Be kind.  Offer others help.  Don’t take anyone, including yourself, too seriously.  Learn from your mistakes.  Give your best effort in everything you do (and that includes cleaning your room).  Every day is a gift from God.

Same as it ever was— happiness comes from within.


3 thoughts on “Day 204: Time Isn’t Holding Us; Time Isn’t After Us

  1. We certainly don’t know where life will lead us, or what’s in store down the years. I think the unexpectedness is the greatest part of life (and of the careers that you and I have). Didn’t somebody once say to treat every morning like a miracle?
    That aside, I was recently listening to the guy in charge of the Pay It Forward foundation, and he said that to “be kind” is the greatest thing we can do, but that he wishes it wasn’t so anonymous. They can still be RANDOM acts of kindness, but make them visible. When other people see it happening, that’s when change will start happening.
    I know that’s not exactly where your post was going, but it’s been on my mind, and those two little words of “be kind” brought it out. =)

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