Life has a strange way of making one ride a very particular curve. When we’re young, we get to experience a lot of really exciting firsts… It all starts with one’s first steps, first words and first using the potty (you know who you are!). As one gets older, a batch of new firsts blesses one’s life; first time driving a car, first time kissing a girl, first time getting a paid job. For some, we could even include the first time enjoying a cold beer, first time living on one’s own and first time taking steps towards adulthood. But as we reach adulthood, we hit a lull in that curve that has all the firsts come to an end and life begins to cash out the debt.
“The Older I Get, The More Things I Gotta Leave Behind. That’s Life.”– Rocky Balboa
As we get older, all of those firsts begin to seem like a distant memory in the rearview mirror. In fact, everything seems to fade to black; old friends become old memories, all those exciting firsts step aside for the realities of life. We even reach the point where loved ones begin to leave us behind for whatever comes next. Y’all know what I’m talking about. It can be a difficult part of life to navigate, especially if one isn’t prepared or it. it can make life seem pretty bleak and leave one wondering what the point of it all may be.
In the past couple of years, life has hit everybody pretty hard. The pandemic changed everybody, and even the ones who don’t seem to believe it changed everyone were affected. For myself, significant life-altering decisions have been made in the past two years; choices I likely wouldn’t have made if the pandemic hadn’t come along. Since I’ve written about some of those changes ad nauseam and this post isn’t about that, i won’t get into those changes but rather, I’ll focus on the changes I’ve seen most recently.
Back at the beginning of August, I travelled out east to visit my folks. Although I should have been greeted the way I have for the past four decades, with a family pleased to see me, I was met with silence. With most trips involving so many back-to-back visits with friends and family that i barely had time to breathe, I came home to family with no time and the ones who did, made no time for me even when they could. And that was WITH my two adorable children, my wife and my mother in law adding to the pleasant ambiance.
It was a strange change to the dynamic of my life. I think that to some extent, my family and friends back home were always a bit of a safety net. Somehow, I could make my way through life and accomplish my goals with the knowledge that even though we had thousands of kilometres between us, they were a universal constant that brought balance to the universe. The most recent incident where for the first time in almost 40 years, Sensei made no time for me over the few days I was home was the nail that drive the message home. And home became the operative word, since the east coast was no longer a place that I could as such.
For the better part of a month, I’ve made my peace with the possibility that I’m just being a little over-sensitive about the entire thing. But I recently realized that it isn’t a matter of over-sensitivity; it’s simply the natural progression of life. I think there’s an old saying about repeating the same actions over and over but expecting a different result. Life doesn’t remain the same and only a fool would assume that there will never any change. The key is to accept those changes and see them for what they are; a different branch in the path of one’s overall journey.
When one takes the time to open one’s eyes and take a look around, there are plenty of firsts remaining to be had. My children will go through all of the joy and firsts in life that I did and I get to be there for it. The only difference is that I get the additional happiness of seeing the joy in their eyes as they experience it all for the first time. It isn’t about what one has lost. It’s about working towards what can still be lived. And experienced. Food for thought… ☯️