Friday, September 10, 2010

The World Is Too Big

There’s too much to do. And I move slower all the time.

I turned 56 this year, and there’s no escaping age and the narrowing of possibility.

I’m starting to lose original parts. They’re going bad, and either needing support, rehauling or removal.

My eyes, my back. That tooth I lost. The sugar imbalance that might’ve become diabetes....

I can’t sprint anymore. My speediest movement is what would’ve been an aggressive jog a few years ago. I’m not the Bear I used to be, when it comes to lifting and moving things. And I can’t just go and go like I once could with a woman I was wanting.

DAMN! I’m just getting old.

And the latest thing is my mind. No, I’m not exactly afraid of Alzheimer’s or some other dementia. One of those may come, certainly. But I’ll do what I can to stay healthy and not otherwise worry about it.

But my memory...

I’m forgetting things all the time. Where I left something. Names. Things I intended to do. So much easier getting caught up in simple complexities like negotiating a website or keeping track of my parking ticket appeals.

Every now and then I’m struck by the sight of a shrunken older man or woman, from whom not only all traces of youth have departed, but who have been bent or twisted by life, as though by a force bearing down on them for decades, and inescapable.

And, like they say, No one ever got out of Life alive.

But the most difficult part, the part that makes the world of possibility seem to shrivel between each breath, is the shortness, the stinginess, the waste and spillage of time.

So many things I haven’t done. And even as I do them – taste new flavours, bend myself into different shapes, consume and let myself be consumed by experiences and just by living – even then, time accelerates by, stripping away the months and the years, faster than I can fill them.

Such a big world. Such a vast world.

I’ve learned to play the sax, but not to drive a semi. And I never swam with a dolphin.

I attended a 10 day Vipassana retreat, and canoed on Lake Temagami, thumbed the interstate from Atlanta to San Francisco, and sipped wine in Kafka’s Prague, but I’ve yet to make the furniture for the roof deck, or see Quebec City, or buy that vinyl copy of Trane at the Village Vanguard.

And I’ve never fathered a child. And I’ve not yet seen Mother Africa.

And though I continue to write, through all these years, I’ll never write that novel I was meant to write in my twenties.

I can not win back any of the wasted time.

I can’t now say yes, and reverse the no from long ago. I can’t now unwrap the successes, or even those failures, I was too afraid to welcome, but which were mine anyway, to help me in the flowering of my life. Even looking backward at it doesn’t bring it near.

So there’s only now. Time ever shifting. And this big world.

And all I can do is use it up.

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