Day 254 - 24 Hours.
I took the kids off for a little impromptu summer vacation since our planned vacation to Yosemite was cancelled. It has been a weird year and I think we all needed to get away and spend some time away from home. My daughter said to me the other day, “I hate leaving home.” She is 13 and that is not normal...most teens can’t wait to get away from home. But she is going the other direction and coming to love being shut in. Wonderfully weird which is exactly the term that I would use to describe 2020 thus far.
It was hard for me to break away from the comfort and safety of our routine. My life is so orderly now. I do my morning stuff, I work all day, I do my evening stuff then I go to bed. The structure is the same as before, but the cadence is totally different. I am moving at a slower pace. Life has a peaceful and harmonious rhythm to it that was absent before. The hard charging is gone and in its stead a lighter, softer texture has moved in.
I still wake up early just as I did before but I do take a little longer to settle in. I have come to require the hike every morning. It isn’t optional anymore. It is part of the fabric of my day. I need it. I crave it. I must go.
It strikes me that what remains the same is that I awake with 24 hours ahead of me. That is all I really have to manage. I do not need to worry or fret about a longer period of time because in this most uncertain time, planning that far out is too hard. It is questionable what new crisis is coming so it is best to stay in smaller increments of time so as not to be disappointed and to maintain one’s ability to adjust.
It strikes me that my life has always been this way. I have always only had 24 hours and even most of those hours are not promised. I could be gone in a moment. Any of us could. This slowing of time and pace has given me the ability to really appreciate the now. Right here in this moment all is well. I need nothing. I require only what I have in this moment. I am complete and whole.
I wonder when this happened. When did I become so present? When did I so willingly accept this new life parameter of just one day at a time? Certainly it isn’t a new concept but my willingness and love for the present has been reborn in the time of Corona. I see my good fortune and am happy to be considering the right now more than the past or future.
Time is so relative. It can be something you think that you can throw around or it can be something that you clutch to your chest while it is not so gently yanked from your grasp.
I have a friend who is back East to usher her sister out of this realm and into another. I think of her and how time is brutal right now. The loss of faculties and function hard to witness. Time feels both precious and precarious. Delightful and painful. Grief and praise owning every moment. I feel for my friend and her family. I can see how the clock drives everything now. Every breath. Every hug. Every furtive glance. Stealing one more moment of existence from death’s grasp.
I feel it too though my life (to the best of my knowledge) is not on quite such a short leash. I feel that time is a commodity that I no longer rent but own. Youth having wasted the largess of time and now middle age owning it as only one can when one can see the end more clearly now.
I find myself reflecting a great deal on the past while leaving the future be. I am not afraid of what comes next as I have been blessed with a life that the future has always held promise and a greater knowledge of peace. I do not believe that will change. And I think this belief is grounded in my acceptance of life in 24 hour increments. Every day I will rise, I will live and I will sleep. Each day encompassing all the phases of life...youth, middle age and death.
None of us are allowed to sit outside the circle. Old age, sickness and death come for us all. It helps me to find peace with this certainty. Which allows me to just live in today. What can I pack into the stream of my life today? Where can I be kinder? Less reactive? More loving? Where can I serve? How can I help? Where are my issues warping my present? Why am I suffering when I know that I do not have to anymore?
As I write today, I am listening to the waves crashing on the shore. They beat on endlessly, never tiring of their task. They hold me accountable to the moment at hand. Reminding me that each moment is fresh and available to me to live right here in the present and look no further than this day to do my best.