Trying To Wrap My Arms Around Time…

…and I can’t.  Yesterday was one of those days where time and I faced off in the ring.  As I made every effort to grab it, time was bobbing and weaving like Muhammed Ali (oh, the irony of how this metaphor dates me in and of itself), coming near and taunting me, daring me to bring it and then sprinting out of my grasp.  I understand why I’d never make it as a boxer – over and above my true abhorrence of being rewarded for knocking someone’s brains loose,  I’d lose each match, for I think I’d keep my gloves up and my eyes closed.

I had lunch yesterday with a woman who used to work at the firm.  She was a manager in the DC office – exceedingly talented and funny with professional ambitions that extended beyond the walls of a branch office.  When I last heard from her she was heading to NY for a larger position in another well-known law firm.  She was on her way.  That we re-connected is a wonderful surprise.  And when she told me that it had been seven years since we last saw each other, I was stunned.  Seven years??  In seven years, lives change.  She survived cancer, wrote a book, moved back to the DC area, is happily employed as the administrator for a smaller firm where she runs the operational ship.  Her face still lights up when she speaks about her husband and family, she looks wonderfully the same and now has four cats instead of the two I remember.  The niece and nephews who were still small children when we last spoke, are in the process of leaving from, attending and moving on after college.  Excuse me?  When the heck did all of this happen?  I realize that time stands still for no man, but surely it would slow down for a woman – right?  Just kidding…

Later in the afternoon, I spent close to two hours speaking with a woman who was my closest friend in high school and college.  She was a bridesmaid at my first wedding (I’m not going there – the wedding, that is).  Our last sighting was close to thirty years ago.  Thirty years…decades of years cascading upon each other.  She still has a laugh like a song.  Her voice has the timber of someone who has had her share of weight to carry as an adult (see my earlier post about the increasing baggage we carry as we get older).  Her life experiences have been varied, rich and happily more love-filled than not, though the times of ‘not’ were profound and etched tattoos that not everyone can see.  I saw them – for even after thirty years I know her voice, could see her face and remember her courage and singular, determined spirit.  We spoke of our respective lives today – husbands, children, careers.  We tentatively went back to Jackson Heights – our friends, our parents – my memories of her mom and dad are as clear as glass – I see them in their apartment, at school events.  Her mom wore Pucci (not sure if they were derivative – probably not, but either way, I loved the colors), deep, alluring voice, perhaps a bit tempermental – nonetheless, she’d come home and endure our singing to Laura Nyro and James Taylor.  Her dad was elegant, soft-spoken and very tall.  I remember he always seemed to look amused by the two of us.  That’s probably right – we were a pretty amusing duo, even if we did take ourselves very seriously.

We will speak again and see each other at some point.  We are both in no small part who we once were, and connect to that understanding with a familiar comfort that few get to re-visit.  Certainly there are new loves and layers and priorities – life has happened in between these years.  And that has me a little turned around this morning.  So much life has happened.  So much time has passed.

Another blogger celebrated her 25th birthday yesterday and was struck by how quickly she had arrived on the brink of being a grown up.  I get it – even though I regard her disbelief with a smile, for she has so many more years of being tricked by time.  The moments fold into each other with increasing speed, days and weeks pass and though we can live wholly and fully, we can’t hold time.  And yesterday I wanted to hold it, just for a minute – look it in the eye and implore it to please, please slow down.  I need a moment to take this all in with nothing else happening in the interim, while I stop and look with wonder at all that has happened over the years.  All that inconsequential stuff that passed in a day that I didn’t notice, and that in retrospect make up huge, life-changing events.  I don’t want to chase time, it is clearly out-pacing me.  I just want to hold it still for a moment and ask what the rush is all about.

33 thoughts on “Trying To Wrap My Arms Around Time…

    • Me too – but I thought if I asked for that, it would consider me too greedy and not give an inch. 🙂 Of course, either way it’s not going to oblige me, so I arguably should be asking for the same thing.

  1. Today’s blog will impact all of us of “our generation” and your words, as they always do, poignantly express and describe that while the wisdom lines appear around the eyes and the knees and ankles creak a bit more when they touch ground first thing in the morning, in our hearts we don’t recognize that time has passed – not so much time, anyway. How can it be possible? Remember how long each school year seemed to be when we were younger, well now when I blink in September, I’m soon hearing about my friends getting ready for retirement celebrations in June. My recent high school reunion brought this point home quite vividly. I’m so happy you were able to “go back in time” for a bit and speak with your friend who was such an integral part of the years that helped define you. Again, for writing about what eventually touches all of us, I thank you. It is especially heart warming on this beautiful Saturday in the Berkshires, that wherever we are – all of us from our generation – are not traveling at warp speed alone. Wishing you a glorious weekend.

    • I can only imagine how vivid this reality was when you hosted your high school reunion (and was I jealous that I didn’t go to Newtown so I could have seen you – the pictures are fantastic, and you looked so beautiful & happy). No sweetie, I know we’re all on this road together, I just wish we could slow the pace…enjoy your weekend in the Berkshires – I know how much you love it there!

  2. oh my…you have pretty much nailed this one to the wall Mim…and i am with you, just a moment of ‘slow down’ would be nice. these last few months have been wonderful for me, i actually feel younger now than ever…but the mirror says otherwise. i will keep the youth in my heart, love the wrinkles that stare back, but pray for moments of time standing still all the same.

    • It’s funny (sort of), but by the time I was in my twenties, I stopped pushing time away – I really enjoyed each phase of the boys’ development (even adolescence), I enjoyed each decade so far…and I am SO in touch with my inner child, I don’t know where the hell my outer adult is – until I look in the mirror…:- ) I just want it all to slow down…Ah well – you are bang on of course – I have to love this moment and just hold on, for this is one ride that I don’t want to end! Have a fantastic day my friend!

      • Thanks, and right back at ya. And again, you are correct…each decade has been more enjoyable than the one before…hope that continues. I love this one, amazes me that I do…perhaps more afraid of the next, but the way I see it…if the IS a next, I’m luckier than some, so better not waste it wishing it was something it wasn’t. But I am NOT growing up on the inside…nope, not gonna happen. Here’s to the inner child Mim…long may she live. And to the outer I say…pull up your wrinkles and keep up sister!

  3. If only we could hold time still! As I was growing up, my dad always said ” don’t rush the time, it goes by quickly enough on it’s own.” He was so right.

    • Hi Amy..yes, your dad was so right.. It’s out of our control (though I’m glad it was generous enough that we got a chance to see each other!!)

  4. Yet another post that goes right to the heart of it, Mimi. I’ve been thinking a lot about the passage of time lately as well (though not expressing it *nearly* as eloquently as you, I might add). Coming up on my 30th high school reunion and wondering how in the hell that could be possible. I see pictures of my classmates and think “Wow, they’ve aged! So glad I haven’t succumbed to those same changes!”. (insert loud guffaw or snicker here–I’ve always been happily delusional in some respects….:-). Isn’t it crazy how we’re in such a hurry to grow up as kids–I remember counting the days til I could get my ears pierced or wear pantyhose!) and now time seems to be going by at warp speed. Sometimes in the crush of day to day life, it’s wicked hard to savor the moments, but I’m doin my darnedest. It really does pass in the blink of an eye….

    • We’re all riding this train Lori (and you my friend are an incredibly eloquent passenger!!) – it is hard to balance the appreciation of all the wonderful stuff and the gnawing anxiety that weaves through the narrative. It’s all going so damn fast and I don’t want to miss a thing. Andy recently went back for his 40th high school reunion. He was amazed at how old everyone had gotten (those people he remembered that is! :-))

  5. Your post really made me think. Thank you. One of the ironies about time and relationships is that they can be paradoxical. Like you, I recently had the gift to reconnect with my closest childhood friend. It’s been ten years since we had a good long chat. One one hand, I was amazed at the change- her sweet little daughter with dimples and big blue eyes is now in medical school. How did this happen? On the other hand, the time clock moved back decades for the afternoon we spent together. We still finished each others sentences, giggled like ten year olds and talked about why we never knew why we dated that guy in the first place.
    Time flew by and stood still. What a tricky thing it is.

  6. I love this. And I laugh at the story of the woman you saw seven years ago. Someone who last saw me seven – or maybe 8 or 9 years ago would probably be surprised that I am not president by now at age 40. It’s funny how priorities change and we soften with time. Personally, I am really enjoying that. Thanks for another beautiful post. You really have a knack for making me think and reflect…

    • I’m really glad you enjoyed it..and certainly these topics are so big, how can we not think about them? I softened a bit later than you, but absolutely yes – I really enjoy the re-prioritized me far more than the old/younger one…:-)

  7. Ah! Time. Running faster and faster in the last couple of weeks, in ever-decreasing circles, (what a former bishop of mine used to call MBMs – Meetings, Bloody Meetings) I’ve missed my daily few minutes with your blog. That wasn’t sensible of me. I need regular doses of Mimi heartening. Thanks for this. You’re always a tonic 😉 x

    • As you are for me Simon – and I was beginning to worry about how you are. I’m relieved to hear the busy-ness is the culprit and that hopefully all is well with you across the pond. I’m happy to think that I provide a tonic – most times that’s the idea, though I think sometimes, the cost of being human interferes and I’m more of a bitter pill..:-) It’s good to hear from you!! 🙂

      • THANK YOU. Presumably bitter pills were part of even Mary Poppins life, eh? Hence the need for “A Spoonful of Sugar”. But you’re a tonic for me, Mimi, precisely because you’re so consistently and humanely honest about “the cost of being human” – and I find that where such honesty exists the possibilities for healing and growing flourish best.

        “Don’t talk about ‘sinners'” – one of our inspirational people here told our Confirmation prep group a week or two ago – “why be so pejorative? – remembering especially that in talking about “sinners” we’re talking about ourselves, too. Better to talk about people who are broken”.

        Yes. That would embrace (hug!) all of us, wonderfully. Broken, healed, broken again, healed some more. Then we know we’re alive and – mysteriously – LOVED. Thanks for being you.

      • How blessed am I that I know you? Don’t answer that – you can’t…for the answer is ‘inestimably’..Thank YOU for your generous, wonderful and delightful friendship.

      • Simon & Mimi, I’ve so enjoyed this exchange. The warmth and generosity of spirit just flows from both of your posts. I was enriched just reading it. Thank you both for sharing….

      • You are welcome to join into this conversation ANYTIME!! Simon is a remarkable person, who is very forgiving of my streams of silliness. 🙂

  8. Lori: how lovely of you to say so! Thank you very much indeed. Truth to tell, I’m not really very remarkable but our friend Mimi has the most extraordinary gift for bringing out the best in her friends. Mimi: thank you 🙂 Joy and peace today, for you and yours x

      • You’ve created a wonderfully warm and nurturing ‘virtual space’ that touches everyone who enters, and I feel blessed to be a part of it in some small way…..

      • Some small way (read the emphasis on ‘small’, please) – you’re kidding, right? Try a LARGE way Lori – your generosity and support, like Simon’s have defined this space. I had no idea what it would look like, or become ….YOU guys made it so…and that is precious to me.

      • You’re lovely, both of you! Know what I mean by the ripple effect? I love the idea that our world (worlds?) might might be changed for the better by something as fluid and gentle as a ripple in a lake when even something tiny has moved it. Some of the older ways, political and / or religious sought to change things with brute force. Better the ripple. Better kindness. Better to be thankful for daily happinesses … and you two are exemplars of such a model. Well said Lori. Me too. Blessed 🙂 Doubly so just now as (Mimi) I’ve a double espresso to hand!

      • How wonderful if we in these small ways, can spread a little bit of joy around, paying it forward if you will albeit in little ways (for when one measures at a meager 4’11”, one can only do things in little ways). That said, I am mildly jealous of your double espresso at this hour and you ability to sleep thereafter. Nonetheless, enjoy and relax!

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