It is January 25, 2018. It’s late. It is often late.
My birthday, not that I particularly am into my birthdays, has come and gone. My heart-versary — two years now, and I’m feeling good — has passed, too, on that same day. I probably ought to come up with a better verb than that.
The boy is back at school, the wife (she loves when I call her that) is back at work, I’m back scrambling for freelance (it’s actually been a stupidly busy month for that, which is good and bad), the frog still lives, the dog(s) are still shedding, the climate is still changing (we’ve had two ice storms this winter in Atlanta), I’m still searching for my runaway jump shot (gotta be two years gone now, at least), Trump is still the damn president …
It barrels ahead, this thing, doesn’t it? My brother already is tracking down dates for our annual golf trip to Pawleys Island. We’re going on something like 11 straight years of bad golf in the spring. At least three of us are. Luke booked his spring break vacation yesterday. He and a couple buddies are going to San Diego. On a plane. Without us.
I barely get things planned and, next thing I know, they’re gone.
The months flip by, for all of us, crazy fast. We work, too much, we fix things around the house, we plow through a couple of books and a lot of time on the internet and a few television shows. We laugh when things are going well, we bitch when they aren’t. We check our finances and try to stay healthy and eat right, when we can, but too often we find ourselves skipping workouts and “grabbing a bite.”
Suddenly … suddenly, my life seems like a set of ellipses. There’s something there in that space, but it’s already gone. What happened to spring? I haven’t talked to my mom in three months! When did Luke say that? That’s next weekend? Where the hell did that hair come from?
I want to slow down, for god’s sake, just for a bit. Just every once in a while, not permanently. I want to sip a drink on a warm afternoon on the sidewalk of a corner cafe in Paris, or walk through a high meadow in some Scandinavian country and gaze at an impossibly picturesque village below while the sun shines on my shoulders. I want to go places with people that I like, when and how we want to go, just to be awed. I want to take the time to burn the memories in my racing brain. I want us all to slow down.
I blame all of this on the new year. I blame it on my birthday.
Nothing will get Luke’s eyes to somersaulting — mine did the same thing decades ago — than to hear a geezer talk about time flying or carpe diem or to quote Ferris Bueller. Sheesh, I can see the inside of the top of my head now.
But Mary Jo’s mom knows. She’s pushing 80, and she doesn’t get around like she used to. So she knows.
“Enjoy now,” she says.
That is, as we older folks all know, as true as smartass kids and my ever-creaky knees, as real as reading glasses and hairs sprouting in the strangest of places. At this time of the year, it’s especially true for me.
If I wish anything for the year ahead — a resolution, yes, if you need to put a label on it — it’s to do more things on my time, at my pace. It’s to ignore the pressures of everyday life, or at least put them on my back burner for a while, and take time to appreciate things like a slow meal, a good conversation, some time with my family and a warm afternoon … even if it’s not in Paris or Grindelwald.
It’s to spend less time on my damn calendar, its virtual pages disappearing in a flash, and more on the day at hand. To enjoy now.
Oh. And this year I want to get in shape, too. And eat healthier. Maybe take up a hobby.
Damn these birthdays.
The question isn’t ‘What are we going to do? …’