Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tick, Tick, Tick...

Time is certainly a clock in the heart. It begins ticking the moment our hearts start beating in the womb and stops the moment we gasp our last breath. That special time between the first and last tick is most affectionately referred to as "life."

As we slide down the love canal the slap from the doctor is a fair warning that the warmth of the womb is a thing of the past. In the real world things are going to be a lot different, but luckily childhood allows us the luxury of being totally free, for a short time at least, to live in the here and now. At the age of five we laugh when we hear someone is forty years old. We cannot imagine being "that old." At the age of five time is one our side.

It’s not until we reach puberty and adulthood that we are confronted with warnings that flash like neon signs telling us that the hourglass is running out.

Make plans. Work hard. Save for a rainy day. Plan some more. Work even harder. Hurry, hurry, hurry! The race against time doesn’t allow us to stop and smell the roses. When was the last time you smelled a rose? Have you ever known someone who actually had that rainy day?

In this MTV style world of fast paced living and fast paced images racing before us we get caught up in chasing dreams, trying desperately to become someone, to get some place we think is going to be nirvana. Sadly we never realize it once we get there, so we keep racing on and on and on. But the fact is it’s right in front of us, here and now. It’s called living.

It's our fear of growing old (hence, dying) and our fear of looking at ourselves and enjoying who we are that makes us so obsessed with time. Because of fear we're escaping from ourselves. And because so many of us are doing it nobody notices the damaging effects it’s having on us.

Think of time as a marathon that everyone feels compelled to participate in and win. In order to do so our minds become addicted to fighting the fear of not winning. God forbid if we should ever take a breather. That would suggest the most dreaded "L" word - loser.

Too often we hear stories of fathers spending so many hours working to provide for their families that they wake up one morning and realize their children are all grown. They wonder how they missed out on their children’s formative years. Isn’t spending a night around the dinner table talking with your children more important than working endlessly so you can have that expensive big screen TV?

With the constant media barrages of youth being thrown at us it’s understandable why we wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat fearing the ravages of time. Birthday cakes take on the face of a clock and each year as we add another candle we see time passing by and with it comes more fear and anxiety. The more candles burning, the louder the ticking, and the less room on the cake for more.

Tick, tick, tick…

What birthdays should be is a celebration of being who you are and being satisfied with yourself. Instead people dread waking up on yet another birthday having to look in the mirror and see that Mother Nature has given them a few wrinkles, a few worry lines, and a few more gray hairs.

Biological clocks have caused many women a nervous breakdown as they stand face to face with menopause. And many men go over the deep end as they reach middle-aged. They adopt foolish behaviors like chasing woman half their age, buying expensive sports cars (and we all know what that symbolizes), and popping Viagra like it’s candy.

In order to escape Father Time pounding at our door we run to the gym and pump iron and sweat on the treadmill. But the fact remains that the body cannot defy gravity.

Fashion is designed for the slim fit twenty something, and that’s why gyms are on every corner. There is nothing sadder than seeing someone well beyond middle-aged trying desperately to keep themselves looking like they did twenty (maybe thirty) years ago, and wearing clothes they shouldn’t have in their closet. (Where are the fashion police when you need them?) It’s our obsession with time that makes us act this way. Bodies sag with age. Accept it and move on. Gravity is going to win. All the Botox in the world cannot turn back time.

But what are we waiting for? Are we hoping that a fountain of youth actually exists?

Middle-aged has become the dreaded years. The last chance before it’s too late. Potential employers discriminate when middle-aged professionals seek a career change. A person’s qualifications are passed over in favor of youth. It’s a sad day in the evolution of mankind when smooth skin and a hip attitude trumps wisdom and experience.

Which brings me to the retirees, our parents and grandparents.

Old people are looked upon as relics, sometimes even as nuisances, and not as individuals with a wealth of experience to share with us. We build nursing homes and retirement communities and quietly forget about them. We fear becoming them.

The hourglass cannot be slowed down so why not embrace it and live in the moment and enjoy the now rather than pushing happiness to later when "I have more money. I have a new house. I have a new car. I have blah, blah, blah."

Let’s step out of our material world and dive into an ocean of love and affection. You might actually discover someone you truly love… yourself.

© 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.


Owen said...

A very thoughtful bloggy. As a classic middle-aged, middle class white man I fit many stereotypes but I DO NOT have an inappropriate wardrobe, thank you very much!

My worry is it might suit a 60 year old better than me...

Selene said...

i love you.
that is all.