Moments - Time
The Master of us all, in the end. No Victor could possibly have a more complete triumph over our bodies, over our lives and loved ones, over our daily grind than Time.
I can see Time reflected back at me in the corners of my eyes, crinkling gently in the morning mirror as I brush my teeth. Do I have deeper smile lines than yesterday? Are the shadows around my eyes darker and a little less erasable with sleep? Time is visible in the height of the sun through my window: I slept in again and the day is later than I would like. What a luxury to have. To no longer wake to a blaring alarm clock, the shrill signal of someone else’s command over my desperately limited time on this Earth.
Time speaks to me as I walk Isabella to day ‘school’ - it is already 9 00, she is late, and I will lose the first half hour of my work day to the inefficiencies of my morning. The militant in me is furious, my day has not reflected the efficiency and precision I have built into my personality from 15 years of mercilessly delivering effective operations. The softer side of me, the side governed by time in the sense of the ebb and flow of the tides and seasons is enjoying the brisk wind and indifferent to Time’s microcosm playing out in my mind. Isabella is nearly three, she dances and runs beside me as I push the pram, the 800m walk inevitably too long for her legs and her patience.
I walk this road two mornings a week, rain shine or blustery winter winds. Maverick running with his black and white tail high streaming his motion, happiness etched into every muscle of his liberated canine body rediscovering anew the green green grasses of each of these Raglan lawns, all unfenced, open to the world, this community of rag-tag surfers and budding entrepreneurs sustained by optimism and government benefits and probably a good dose of weed. Already winter is nearly over and the sun shines with a warmth that was not shared with latitudes this far south just one short week ago. Most days I glory in this simplicity, this life, my choices, my focus, becoming less complicated as my mind becomes clearer. But today time is in my mind, pressing outwards in all directions like my brain does not quite have enough space to operate to capacity, my heart beating more strongly, urgently as though competing against a silent companion, an external, uncontrollable influence that reaches into every facet of my living being and ultimately governs life, disappearing only with the inevitability of death. The penultimate stroke of Time’s power.
This state of being, this feeling of almost-panic causes me to notice and focus on things that otherwise would just be lost in the river of life and changing seasons. I see the few extra kilos Stephen is carrying. Is this permanent ageing or a result of his prioritisation of late? I love him so deeply, so permanently that I don’t want to live without him. I could. I would make a life that has joy in it, because I would choose that to the alternative, but I don’t want to have to.
On days like this Time travels heavily with me throughout my day, pressing forward on my chest and bringing a stiffness into my neck and shoulders. I feel the panic sitting just below the surface of my emotions, underscoring every decision and interaction with my mortality, my inevitable decline and with the futility and impermanence of every decision and action of a single human being. Acutely and painfully on days like this I see beauty in every moment but instead of bringing joy it brings a river of confusing emotion, joy and sadness indistinguishable, and a sense of great loss, as though already the presence of this moment is the very sign of its passing. I am biting my lip now, the tears breaking the surface of my face as I write, the truth of human existence too heavy for me today. I hope that no one approaches me as I sit here in my favourite cafe, head down avoiding everyones eyes, because they will see the tears swimming in my face and the fear of losing everyone I love to Times merciless march.
Why fear it? It is inevitable.
Savour every joy-filled moment and be Grateful.
Great and Full.
I am, I am. My drowning ego calls out to me impatient and indignant. I do this every day, I meditate, set intent, keep a gratefulness diary. I am grateful and joyful in many moments of every day. I make this my focus, changing my mindset, changing my daily focus from expectation to appreciation. Every day a gift. Every moment.
Mastering my mind, the only place where any of this really exists.
And still I have days like this that I have not mastered anything. Days where Time masters me.
I woke this morning already restless and a little bit angry, a sense of my hours wasting away pervaded my mind even as I came to consciousness. I tried to pinpoint where this emotion was springing from. I could hear Stephen in Isabellas bedroom where he had settled in the early hours of the morning to help her continue to sleep. She was chattering happily in sing song tones as she woke to a new day with her daddy cuddled in beside her. It was the sound of pure joy and I took a moment to bathe in it. Yet despite this joyful interlude I was aware of some frustrations in my body around other people whose lives cross mine in this messy business of living. Commitments made and broken, times allocated and passed by without intents or promises met, decisions that I needed to make hinging on conversations that had not been had despite my efforts at scheduling. I was aware that this wastefulness of time was whittling away my respect for them and their ability to do business. Time itself and wasted efforts representing Time spent as plans change without notice, or notice for opportunities is not given. Midnight candles burned to meet commitments because information was not provided in a Timely manner. Disrespect of my Time grates on me, invading my body with this physical sensation that is distasteful. The effect on me is so pervasive that I want to cut them and their opportunities loose just to be rid of the sense of someone else holding my time heedlessly in their hands.
I am rapidly becoming unemployable.
This makes me smile. I am no longer prepared to sell my time to the highest bidder. I wonder idly if this relatively new rewiring of my brain will stand regardless of how much they are offering. Or am I still for sale, my price just higher than in my recent past as an employee.
In spite of the almost -smile on my lips I am aware that this feeling of urgency that has captured my mind today brings out the worst in my personality. Impatience. Intolerance. Frustration. I don’t feel calm, and I will snap as Isabella takes 10 minutes to put her little pink booties on, distracting herself with all the wonders of life to her nearly three year old eyes. This is not the best version of myself. But I can't shake her easily - this version of self, she is steaming beneath the surface, the thoughts that make up her State today are ridden by Time.
Instead of working on scheduling a busy day I decided to control my Time by writing about it. Maybe if I could capture the emotion and articulate it I would become free of the yoke around my mind. So I sit here, after dropping Isabella at day ‘school’ and I write, letting Time run through my fingers, not checking the clock, not responding to emails or the sense of urgency drumming within me, or my task list: impossibly long today such that there is no way I can achieve it despite effectively employing every minute of the day in the hustle. So I let it all go, at least in action. My mind, however, continues to hold on to the reigns, reminding me of the Things I will not do today.
Something happened as I opened my computer to write. It seems significant and so I will share this synchronicity within the Universe. My gratitude diary popped up with the daily quote.
“I like flaws and feel more comfortable around people who have them. I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions”
- Augusten Burroughs
Momentarily the frustration releases hold of my body and ebbs away. For a moment I felt peace as a shaft of sunlight shone into the frustration riding my mind on his day . For a moment, and then it was mostly gone, a residue of peace like candied sugar remaining within my mind. But it was enough. It was enough to show me that I am changing, growing, cells shifting within my brain to become a better version of myself. That I am capable of forgiving others their imperfections, or more significantly, forgiving me my own.
I write on, capturing my flaws, my imperfect thoughts, my not-yet-mastery of my mind, my best intentions. I somehow hope that by sharing I grow, that by sharing I help someone else feel more human as they walk their own road to enlightenment.
Because what else is this journey really about?