What Is That Incessant Ticking?
Do you hear what I hear?
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…is this a cultural construct or the work of medieval religious institutions who wanted to regulate daily prayers, rest, and work schedules?
Well, let me just say not much has changed.
I feel regulated much of the time, not just by clocks, but my hormones!
Sssssh…I hear this retort repeatedly these days, as I randomly lament out loud about the incessant heat and my persistent body odor. I have no tolerance for heat, microaggressions, and uncertainty. This could be part of the aging process, unexpected hormonal shifts, or simply a reasonable evolution of thought?
We’ll never be a hundred percent sure because if I’m not allowed to speak in my own home it feels as if my thinking has also been obstructed. #QuarantineIssues
At the current moment, there are no less than three conference calls being conducted within earshot of my chair, which is my lake house office, and I’m finding it difficult to focus with all this conflicting chatter.
Is anyone else experiencing this phenomenon?
On one of the calls my sister-in-law is tutoring someone in Spanish who lives on the other side of the state, my daughter is discussing a recently filed lawsuit about gender inequality with coworkers, and Looney is discussing a bloody crime scene, or no, maybe he’s forecasting for next quarter? Either way, it’s not a pretty picture.
Maybe I should paint my nails, something that doesn’t require critical thinking, but has a distinct bonus of looking eloquent while holding a wine glass. Win, win.
On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can’t remember it, who can? The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront. I can’t possibly keep up.
So I’ll be perfectly honest, I thought I would have accomplished so much more by the time I turned 60, but here I am in view of the finish line, and it feels as if I’m suddenly sprinting instead of taking a leisurely stroll, smelling the roses, tending to my arthritic knees?
Why is time passing so quickly?
This is hard to admit but I’m discouraged by my lack of accomplishments. I don’t know exactly what I was hoping would happen by my 6th decade? It’s vague at best. It’s not as if I expected to be rich and famous by the time my hair went totally grey but I thought I’d have more accolades than an apple award from the Cambrian School District and a picture with Donny Osmond? I guess my assumptions about this stage of life didn’t include a pandemic, travel restrictions, and such incertitude?
Sometimes—many times—both in life and in marriage, you hope for the sunset overlooking the ocean off a deserted beach in the Mayan Riviera, but what you get is a drive to physical therapy. That’s okay. Maybe it’s actually how it should be.
Allison Winn Scotch
Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging says Maya Angelou. If this is true I have aged rather than matured.
I did think I would have done more with my writing? Hosting a blog for several years, writing almost daily, does not always lead to something more concrete. You know what I mean, like making the NYT bestseller list, which leads to an Oprah interview, and maybe a sitcom? A girl can dream…
What I’m realizing is if I want more out of my writing (or anything in life for that matter), I have to be the one to foster the opportunities and procure my goals, because my fairy godmother is suspiciously absent.
Maryanne Pope says, “the fact of the matter is: time IS passing very quickly. And I’m hoping that the sooner I can shed that which I no longer want or need (or is no longer serving me), the more time and energy I will have to focus on what really matters to me – the relationships, projects, causes & activities – in the years that remain,” from her post Is this what happens at 50?
So this got me thinking about what I want to focus on in the coming years and the things or projects that are “no longer serving me.”
Feels a little like wrestling with the devil, does it not?
Have you ever had these thoughts when reading a favorite book? I find myself savoring every word because I have this nagging suspicion that I won’t have enough time to read it again. Who thinks like that? Here I was aiming for a positive approach and now I’m just being surly.
I remember when I realized that I had been an Oreglia longer than I had been a Johnson (my maiden name) and today I realize I have lived longer than the time I have left in this beautiful world. Of course, I would never want to repeat some of those years, that should be part of the calculation, but the math gets complicated.
So here’s the deal, it’s time to weed out, let go of the things that are mere distractions, and allow that which is most important to come into focus. One day it seemed as if my life would last forever, I was accumulating people, things, real estate, and children like nobody’s business. Jessica Francis Kane says I reached a point where the balance of the past and all it contained seemed to outweigh the future, my mind so full of things said and not said, done and undone, I no longer understood how to move forward. I was tipped backward and wobbly, my balance was off, and this made sense to me. Life seemed so long, I couldn’t see how anyone proceeded under the accumulated weight of it all.
That being said, I’m not only weeding the garden, I’m weeding my life, and once that’s done I can sprinkle it with a little preen so the cultivated parts will survive.
An aside: this just happened in real-time and it’s applicable if you have an odd sense of humor.
Looney says, “Kelley can you help me with this?”
“My phone is all messed up, it won’t alert me when I get a text message.”
She walks over to his station at the dining table, looks at his set up and says, “Dad, when your earphones are plugged into your phone, that is where the sound goes. Your phone doesn’t know when your earphones are in your ears or not and therefore you can not hear the sound of an incoming text.”
I can’t resist, “I thought you had a smartphone.” Bahaha
I got the look.
As Nora Ephron claims writers are cannibals, they are predators, if you say anything funny, or if anything good happens to you, you are in big trouble.
Back to weeding, I’m starting with my bookcase, because books represent where you are in life. I’m thinking if I get rid of the how-to books; how-to parent, build confidence, get stains out of the laundry, feng shui the house, influence others, Knodo the closets, and cook on a budget, maybe dump some of the romance novels, and all those books on living a beautiful life, or how to write an exegesis on the Gospel of John, I would have room for my current obsessions. I would also like to order my books categorically so my travel guides won’t feel snubbed by the classics, maybe separate my cookbooks from the gut health guides, give the books about writing and publishing more space!
After the bookcase, I’m working on the trinkets, platters, and people. Maybe it’s time to let go of my day job, learn how to take amazing selfies, tell better stories? It would be an adjustment for sure, I’d be demoted to being a person, instead of an educator? I’d have to get new business cards.
I wake early, grab a cup of coffee, and slip into one of the patio chairs placed in the heavy shade of the morning, taking stock of my life, considering the things I can live without, and the ones I need to pull closer. I take a deep breath as if my nose has caught the scent of something beautiful, and I don’t know why but it makes me faint with hunger, a hunger for more time. I close my eyes and lean back in the chair, my vast emptiness exposed, and I sit here marveling at the endless space waiting to be filled.
Life is prodigious.
So here’s the question. What will we fill our emptiness with?
I’m suddenly giddy, like the time I flew in my dreams, I believe it’s time to ignore the clocks, toss the calendars, and as if helium balloons, let go of all these self-imposed restrictions. “In my own little corner, in a post COVID world, I can be whatever I want to be. On the wings of my fancy, I can fly anywhere, and the world will open its arms to me,” Rodgers and Hammerstein.
“The sun is setting on whom I was in order that I can become the type of person that I wish to be. The beauty of twilight is that it enhances everything. Personal change requires the courage to let go of personal security and venture into a new world,” says Kelroy Oldster. The truth is our vocations have called us and we’re tired of being away, the beds are made, the children are sprung. So, who am I now? Elise Hooper says I’m old enough to wear wrinkles and scars, but young enough to feel stronger and smarter because of them. At the very least I deleted my tictok app!
I’m Living in the Gap, the clock is ticking, and I’m not having it.
Previously Published on cheryloreglai.com