This week, the featured post is authored by MenLiving facilitator, Mike Rosen. Mike is a father, a 4th grade teacher and has been the lead on our Tuesday night seperation / divorce meeting since its inception.
‘Time flies over us and leaves its shadow behind.”–Nathaniel Hawthorne
‘“It’s time for me to fly!”’–REO Speedwagon
Not many days pass that I don’t hear that message in some way, shape, or form. This ever-present reminder that the world is flying past me and AM I TAKING THE TIME TO APPRECIATE IT? YOU DO KNOW TIME IS FLYING, RIGHT? Shhhhh. Yes, I hear you loud and clear. When I’m reminded of this (truth?) it elicits in me a mild feeling of dread. AM I enjoying it? DO I appreciate it? Or am I taking it for granted, squandering it, treating a finite resource as if it were infinite, allowing it to drain through my fingers like sand on a beach?
I’m lucky to be a Dad. My boys are 18,16, and 16. It’s been a Summer and Fall of old chapters closing and new ones opening. The oldest, Jack, left for college a few weeks ago. Chapter Closed, Chapter Opened. My other two each turned 16 and now drive. I no longer need to pick them up, drop them off, or coordinate the way I used to. Chapter Closed. Chapter Open. Each of these, in conjunction with the gradual transition between our seasons, all serve as mileposts measuring time less in hours and minutes but rather in years and decades.
What can I do to notice and appreciate this passage of time? Do I actually need to do anything more or different? There are already innumerable, existing ways for me to measure and appreciate the passing of time. How might I do that in what might be thought of as a non-traditional way?
Over the years I’ve often wondered how many concerts I’ve seen. If the intensity of the tinnitus in my head is the measure, it’s a lot. A few weeks ago I decided to actually try to find out. I unearthed a box of old letters and such from my closet and extracted all of the concert ticket stubs I’ve kept. It was just the springboard launch I needed. Between pictures, my own recollections, dialogues with friends and family, and a website database that lists concerts and setlists, I was able to create a spreadsheet called All the Shows. I feel like it’s 99% complete and accurate and beyond the sheer novelty of taking the time to work on it and the many ‘Oh yeah! That’s right!!’ that came with the associated memories, it made me appreciate the gentle arc of time through an entirely different lens-through the context of music I’ve enjoyed since that first Mac Davis show back in 1981. Concerts Begin. Concerts End. Chapters Open, Chapters Close.
There’s a lot to read about time–how we perceive it–both as a resource and how it passes. I just saw a calendar which lists the 4,000 weeks we’re lucky to have if we live until we’re 80. Their tagline? “Life’s too short to fly on autopilot.”
I’ve reached the conclusion that I get to be the Pilot on my flight through time. I decide how close to the ground I fly or how high through the stratosphere I climb i.e. I choose the vantage point and perspective. I also get to decide how fast and how slow I fly and I get to choose the lenses through which it passes.. Could it be ‘traditional’ ways, like years, schools, age milestones, etc.? Sure. Are there other ways? Absolutely. I invite you to find a way to view the passage of time that might be a little different than you have before. How does it look? How is it measured? I’ve been to 103 shows and counting. You? Hurry up and start counting, time is flying you know!