today i walked by a man in a wheelchair with a cane across his lap. he was being pushed by his wife. they smiled and so i smiled and waved hello, not knowing them, but knowing them. or knowing of them, i mean. you see, on my mind a lot these days is the idea of our getting older. Not in the maturation-way, but in the physical, unstoppable, totally biological way. I saw myself in the mirror-of-a-mirror (you know the kind that are strategically placed so they pick up the reflection in the mirror across the room and then there’s like 80-million Kays refracted and reflected everywhere). it was overwhelming but it was me. a Me that for a split second I didn’t recognize. and then i scrunched my face and it did it, too, and i was like, “that’s me?”
shouldn’t be a surprise, but it was. the idea of me in my head wasn’t the girl i saw and that’s not a bad thing, it’s just, well, it just brought me back to the cycle of the cycle of life. generally speaking, it doesn’t pardon any of us. It’s a game we’re forced to participate in; it is the poker face that can’t convince Father Time that our lot is good, or bad. Time is indifferent. our chips are stacked for us, and we’re all in, all the time.
i am not old by some standards, and i hope you don’t think i’m complaining. i’m not. i just find it curious that this is on my mind. that if i am getting older, well so are the people around me. so are you. so are my awesome cousins in Maryland, so are my parents, grandparents, friends. so is my dog. i never think of this. it’s so weird.
yesterday it was sunny and i was walking down fairfield street towards my home when i passed an elderly man chopping up the ice on the side of the street with a shovel and kicking out the big chunks for cars to drive over and flatten the ice into wet stains on the pavement. he was having a ball.
“I’ve got an extra shovel?” he said. not so much a statement as it was an offer.
i was flustered.
he laughed, “I don’t have another shovel, i just wanted to see what you’d say. i love talking to passersby. don’t you?”
and so we talked for a bit. He told me of his daughters who live in Italy. I told him how much i love boston in the Spring. and then he went back to work, and i went on with my day. but our small exchange stuck with me. when do i strike up conversations with strangers? or seek to try something new? or take a risk? or just get happy for each day and l-i-v-e it out, conscious of it - not of stupid stuff, like getting older.
i was reminded then that time is so many things:
time is fleeting.
time is marching.
time is ageless.
time is neutral and it’s inevitable.
it’s a brick. a simple block that can do nothing but tick away seconds. powerful because we get to choose how we use it. i want my time to be spent in beautiful ways. i’ll take the hard and the good together. i must. i like the girl in the 80-million-way mirror. i like the way she grows up daily. I’ve got today and so do you. now what will you do with it?