Time is a strange thing, isn’t it? especially our perception of it. Five minutes can seem like an eternity, waiting for a bus or train in the wrong weather. Several hours in good company goes by in a flash. A day can seem like a year, and yet an entire decade passes in no time, at all.
Time was that beard was dark, with red highlights from my Scottish Gran’Da’s side of the family; back in the day, I had hair down to my kidneys, and once upon a time, not so long ago, I didn’t need to shave my head, I just did it for efficiency’s sake. Then once upon another time, I grew it back in, and discovered how much of the field had gone fallow.
The worst is just how our perception of time gets, as we get older. Weeks were once an eternity; a year used to be a long time…an entire decade seemed incredibly long; until the decades behind started to outnumber those ahead.
Now, time seems to grow shorter; my children growing up so goddamned fast I cry for yesterday when I was cradling them to sleep in my arms.
And I’m astonished, at their young age, how much wiser they are than I ever was – sometimes wiser than I am now – and how compassionate and passionate they already are about life.
I pray to a god I don’t believe in that nothing happens to them in their long decades ahead – especially those painful, formative early two or three – to break their spirit, to break their drive to be themselves, to be unafraid, and to be ALIVE, in the truest sense of the word that the young deserve, so that they can enter adulthood at peace and ready to change, conquer or renew their world.
God knows I spent too much time when I was young feeling sorry for myself; picked the wrong people as friends more than once, but picked the right onces more often. But whether the best of friends or the worst of them, the times were always good, better than I remember, except for how wrapped up I was because of untreated depression, anxiety, and the ongoing physical and mental abuse my father inflicted on me.
By the time I was finally able to get a handle on myself and my life, I was almost thirty; after too many bad relationships had for the wrong reasons over too little time, I wound up meeting someone who finally made everything feel right…and in time, we were married…and we had eight, nine good years…out of a thirteen-year marriage.
And we have great kids, together; in their eyes, I see the future unbridled, and I can remember that feeling. The sun is still rising on their future; I’m already into the early evening of mine.
How did it go by so fast?
Why didn’t I appreciate what I had more?
Why didn’t I do more to be happy, instead of resenting those around me who were?
After I finally got my shit together, how the fuck did I lose it, when I had so much to live for, so much reason to feel joy?
Who am I now?
Where am I now?
Is this it? Is this all there is?
I swear, I’ve tried so hard for all this time…why does every happy memory I have of every person I’ve ever known have an equal number of bad memories I’ve had with, or because of either myself, or them? Why aren’t I looking back with nostalgic romance? Why is it all I see are the scars and craters left in my wake?
Will my children still love me when they realize I’m nothing like the man they think I am?
Will anyone ever desire me again?
Will anyone ever enjoy my company, again?
How long before I’m forgotten? How long before I’m dead, before I truly am completely alone?
Will anything I’ve ever done, or tried to do, will anything I’ve ever said or written be remembered by or matter to anyone?
Will my expressions of friendship, affection, love, counsel, support, and encouragement even matter, weighed against my inflictions of disdain, venom, rage, contempt, hatred, cruelty or jealousy?
Do I have time enough to atone? Time enough to balance out the red in my ledger? Do I have time left to actually feel ALIVE, again, or is this constant sense of regret all that’s left to me?
How much time have I already wasted, and how much more will be added to the ledgers of times I regret?