I was young until I got older. It happened when I wasn’t paying attention. The years were galloping by even though sometimes I thought I was standing still. But I didn’t do anything, I’ve thought. I’m still figuring out what I’m going to do. Where did those weeks and months and years go? (I need more time, not less, not now that I’ve figured out how to live fully.)
I must have blinked but I don’t remember doing so. I didn’t think I’d fallen asleep, either, but I must have because, now that I have my eyes wide open, I can see that I’ve moved some place without much effort at all. Perhaps I was sleep-walking. Yes, that’s it. There were periods in my life when I was going through the motions, putting one foot in front of the other with blinders on that kept me looking straight ahead and not glancing sideways to see what was happening in the margins, around the bend, and within the angles that spun off from the narrow focus of my life.
But I didn’t choose. I’m still considering many options. Then it hits me – standing still is making a choice! Choosing to do nothing is still making a choice. Keeping my mouth shut – another choice. There must be a way to describe this movement while being still in physics.
If you live long enough, you get older. I’m not yet ready to embrace “old” but I have to acknowledge older, numbered, seasoned, marinated, partially cooked. It’s easy to be so busy looking for it, anticipating it, that one misses it. The it being life.
I grab a flashlight some nights. Other nights I light a candle to find my way back to those years that got lost. How could I not have recognized the fact that my daughter’s last year of high school meant that soon I would not be able to know for sure that me and my children would be in the same place at the same time? (Had I realized it I would have cherished each of the meals, movies, jokes, tussles of that year more joyfully.) I shine the light in dark corners trying to find those opportunities that were right within reach but that I took a pass on because I didn’t have enough money, because I wasn’t sure I could handle them, and because I was afraid. (I thought they’d come back this way again and they never have.)
While in Vermont recently at my alma mater, I walked the grounds and ran smack into the young Candelaria. I remember how nervous and hopeful she was. I said hello to my young self, gave both of us a hug, and had to chuckle because I am still hopeful if not quite as nervous.
The options were as bountiful as an orchard at harvest time. It seemed that the fruits of opportunity would never dwindle. The trees though pruned still bear fruit that is right there for the taking. I am learning to make the choice to pick the fruit, examine it, sample it, and savor as much of it as I can right here, right now before it truly is too late.