Sometimes there are brief moments of clarity that hit you in such a way as to indelibly and indescribably transform your way of thinking. The moments of lucidity, epiphany, or whatever you wish to call them can impact you in such a way as to be indescribable. I’ve had one of those moments recently, and I am going to try to describe it. My words may falter and not convey the actual shift in my mind, but I will at least make an effort.
Time has a way of slipping from you. We all try, to some degree or another, slow down and savor important experiences. Of course, practicality suggests that we all know what really happens. Our day-to-day lives sometimes just don’t let that come to pass. There’s work, or school, or a bazillion obligations that keep us running from place to place, pausing maybe to shove some fast food in our faces and catch a few hours of sleep before waking and doing it all over again.
For the past six years, I’ve had a few of moments of clarity. I’ve attempted to record them somehow, in my own private writings, sketches, or sometimes a poem. But I am finding lately that these moments of clarity are becoming fewer and far between, but also more profound at least, from my reckoning.
For six years, I’ve traveled and navigated through life with my wife. Three years of getting to know one another, and three years as married. (And yes, we are still getting to know one another.) We met in our mid-twenties and both come from very different backgrounds. And through her eyes, I have been able to see the world from a different perspective. We often joke about being Yin and Yang, although we can’t figure out who is which, but slowly I am beginning to see that there are other perspectives than mine, that are just as valid, important, and insightful as my own.
For about a year now, I have been constantly on the go with school, and being a culinary student is extremely demanding, physically, mentally, and with time. I spend at least 40 hours a week at school and when I am not at school I am generally studying or doing some homework. We’ve had little time, really, to slow down and savor the important moments in life, and it was this thought that had been constantly in the back of my mind for awhile now. But this is true for most couples. There are periods in life where the sacrifices in time that you make, which will be worth it later on, simply keep you running on the hamster wheel, without much time for really connecting. Our schedules are so incredibly different, that it makes the time we do spend together very precious.
So I sat down, wishing to write a journal entry about “Time,” my perspective of it, and contemplating how to go about conveying my idea of the concept. I wanted to write some little tidbit of information, my own little “Taoism thought of the Day” on the meaning of time, slowing down, and taking time to savor life.
We were in mrs. muse’s artist’s loft about a week or so ago, lounging on her plush couch, watching a little television. There was some mindless blather on the boob-tube, but that was okay. We had both had rough days at our respective places of activity and needed a little time to unwind. I was formulating how to go about writing the journal entry on “The importance of slowing down,” tossing the ideas over in my head, allowing specific ideas to bang against one another. After all, I’ve been moving at such a rapid pace this last year, the idea of slowing down seemed rather appealing to me, and sounded like a great post to share with the readers of surrealmuse.com I looked up at my wife, the words of an opening sentence for the entry ready to leave my lips when suddenly, out of the blue, I had one of those moments of clarity. I thought that I had a well formed line of thought in my mind for the post, but it just dropped out of my thoughts. The gears. The machinery of thought veered off in a completely different direction.
It was evening, the lights were low, the half-moon visible through the window. The volume of the television was low, and the light from the screen played across her face as she sat, a sleepy, contented smile on her lips and her dreamy, half-closed eyes watching the program. And an odd thought struck me. That somehow all those years, six years, had caught up with us. I found myself looking at my wife and realizing that somehow, she had grown and aged into something wonderful right under my nose, regardless of how busy we have been. And now, here we are. Still young, but undeniably growing older. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
Six years isn’t really that long. And thirty really isn’t that old. But I was awe struck to realize that we have both, over the six years, aged a little, and for the better. Of course, like anyone who has ever lived, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve weathered the uncertainties that life has thrown at us, sometimes coping better than others. Don’t get me wrong here, I have absolutely no complaints. Hardship, struggle, and the like are just things that all of us have to deal with at one point or another.
But in that moment, that absolute clear moment, I realized that every day of life is a gift. We, just like everyone else, are growing older each day. I used to look at time, and think of it as a resource that was constantly running out, and that the clock was ticking, and that there was only so much time we had to accomplish things. And in that brief, powerful moment, I felt the value of time. I felt the importance of slowing down, to appreciate what blessings are in our life. Each day is a gift, and I no longer feel the clock ticking down. Instead, I am feeling the essence of living for the moment, and attempting to make each second that ticks by a sweet memory. Time isn’t running out, really. Time is simply there for us to remember how wonderful each moment can and should be.
I thought about telling my wife this, but there really is no way to say “Hey, we’re getting older,” without getting smacked upside the head or offending a beautiful woman, without any pretext or long-winded preamble, such as I have done here. Your fault, dear reader. But I now think I am just beginning to understand that yes, we are getting older. And I know that every day we age is an opportunity to make ourselves better, and to appreciate each moment for what its worth. I am someone that never expected to live to see 25, let alone 30. And I am excited at what the next 10 years may bring, and what memories that are waiting for us to create.
Later that week, I was lying in bed, waiting for Natalie to finish her nightly bed-time ritual of getting her clothes ready for the next day. She passed by the mirror, and mussed with her hair. She peered long and carefully, studying her face.
“I’m getting old,” she announced. She didn’t look too pleased, pushing her face closer to the mirror.
She said it in a way in which I should have just pretended to be asleep, but this announcement, considering the thoughts that have been bubbling away in my mind, brought about this unseen connection that echoed my own sentiments, albeit with a very different tone. Yup. We’re both getting older. And that’s perfectly okay.
“I know,” I said. Of course, this earned me a dirty look, but I couldn’t help but smile.