Thursday, March 27, 2014

This New Hour

When my sixtieth year began, just about a year ago, I found myself playing with the metaphor of my entire life as a single hour, each year represented by a minute on the clock. By that reckoning, last March I was entering my hour's final minute, and I approached the year with the intent of completing some things. I know that some of my friends were horrified by this analogy, seeing in it some morbid anticipation of death, but no such thing was intended. Rather, the image helped me to focus my priorities and set goals. It also helped prepare me for turning sixty, which I feared might otherwise come with a heavy psychological load.

Well, my hour ended two days ago. I didn't achieve nearly all I'd hoped to. The clock was an appropriate but daunting image to engage with, as all year I was acutely aware of the ticking away of those precious seconds, despite that my expanded time frame stretched each of them to almost a week. And yet, it was also a joyful minute, during which I was able to appreciate the breadth and richness of what's been a wonderful life.

I don't make much of my actual birthday anymore, and Tuesday was a pretty regular day, aside from a deluge of well wishes on Facebook and some other, more personal acknowledgements from friends. It was a good day, with lots of small reminders that a milestone was being passed. I was struck, in particular, by the realization that my thirtieth birthday, which was special in a number of ways, had passed half my lifetime ago! There were lots of jokes about loss of vigor, and my Ponczka finished off a long-standing joke between us, by announcing that she'd changed her mind, and was in fact not going to trade me in for two thirty year olds.

The great surprise though, came the next day, when I thought back to my analogy and realized that I was now into the first minute of my second hour. What a shift in perspective that brought. Suddenly, I was no longer summing up, trying to bring closure to a lifetime of intention. Now, the minute hand was starting down the other side of the clockface. Now, I was looking forward again. And looking forward, my view didn't feel nearly so populated with plans and goals and intention. I can take on anything I'd like. Time and space for something entirely new. In fact, the future feels pretty wide open.

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