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1988

1988

I remember when my mom told me that the year 1988 would never happen again. My seven-year-old self sat in the passenger seat of our Suburban in the parking lot of Cub Foods trying to gag back some sort of chunk of sadness that was stuck in the middle of my throat. The seatbelt was tight across my chest as I stared at a digital clock, trying to understand that every new number had seen its last moment for that day, week, year, and then forever. She was stern with her words as she tried to explain to me that I could never visit the year that I was born or even the last year that I had just lived. I remember trying to force my tears to retreat back into my head, as I suddenly had no choice but to mourn all of the happy memories that my life had yielded up until then. It was the first time that I had realized that my time was limited.

Unlike my childhood epiphany, my husband describes having an awareness as young as three years old. He remembers thinking, "It's weird that I am going to die someday, but that is a long, long time from now." He was just a little guy, comforting himself in knowing that he had time. Now, it seems that with each passing year, he questions whether or not he really does.

Time has always been a theme in our relationship. We have spent a saga of ten years telling ourselves and each other that we had a surplus of it, regardless of the many nights we wasted fighting with each other in the cab of a truck. Despite the tears and break-ups, the preciousness of time was embedded in us at such young ages that the desperation to be happy and "make it work" somehow consistently prevailed.

The result of this temperamental chapter in our lives evolved into accepting that "wasted time" is a necessary lesson. For us, the theme continued after marriage and we decided to make our best effort in limiting the wasting of minutes. This, in turn, caused us to ship our truck to South America and travel until the desire died out. For others, it could be to pursue a dream hobby or start a beautiful family. Not one is better than the other, but what we must realize is that our time is limited regardless.

But, this is the main issue:

We think that we have time.

Perhaps, it is a human defense mechanism to ignore your awareness of the fleeting years. If so, it definitely does its job in preventing consistent and deep sadness by buffering down such a harsh and unimaginable reality. It glimmers in every set of eyes that I meet.

I see it when my husband's grandma giggles at her thirteen-year-old self sneaking a boy an extra scoop of ice cream behind her manager's back. Who knows how much more petty crime she would have committed for that boy (who became her loving husband) had she known that her time with him was limited. I see it when a couple pushes the honeymoon off "just one more year" for many years in a row, until it just never happens. We are all incredibly guilty of it. We are Time-Deniers; Clock-Ignore-ers; and Mortality-Believers, and it's ok because it allows us to simply live.

So where is the best place to grip this double-edged sword? On one sharp side, we want to live in the present moment with gratitude and acknowledgement, while the other blade wants us to recognize that we only have so many of them. Maybe gripping the handle-less sword isn't the answer. It seems that it will cut you with its metal disapproval, and leave you empty-handed.

My answer:

Do not take your time for granted. Ever.

Place your finger in the middle and allow the sword to just balance. Do whatever it is you need to do in order to live currently while having the awareness of a limit.

 

Loosen your grip on hesitation...

 

Give that boy an extra scoop of ice cream. Get that dream job. Book that honeymoon. But, most of all, don't live like you can get 1988 back.

Northern Chile & Bolivia

Northern Chile & Bolivia

Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral