On Time

I’ve scared myself by aging. I think about this a lot. I’ll be going about my day and suddenly consider my life circumstances. They’re so different from even a few years ago! I’ll marvel at how much has changed right under my nose. Without even feeling like anything happened. I’ll be 30 in a matter of months. It doesn’t feel real. And I’m sure lots of other people on the edge of 30 have said the same. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

When I think about the past, I think about my family. How my parents have aged. Where their lives were and where they’re going from here—and the role I will play in it. And how it will never ever be like it used to be again. And I think about my 101-year-old grandfather. I suppose I should be grateful he’s still with me. But he always has been here. So I almost don’t expect him to leave. Even though I know he will. And that will forever change everything.

This is the age where a lot of things change forever. Not that things haven’t been changing forever my whole life. But these changes feel like the most consequential “forever” changes to date. Moving cities. Marriage. Children. Death. Serious business. Of course I spend so much time thinking about them.

So much seems so recent that is now gone forever. Childhood felt like it lasted the right amount of time. I had 18 years to get used to it. And I had a lot of time to prepare for it to end. But even when I blew out that candle, I didn’t fully appreciate that I could never relight it.

And then I tore through college. Another time that felt like it went on forever and ended in a flash. Followed by my first job, my first apartment in the city, my first serious relationship, my first “good” job, etc. It’s all already happened. And it’s not going to happen again. That’s how it works. Things happen for a little while, and then they stop happening. High school ended. College ended. Your 20s end. And eventually lots of other things will end, until the only thing left to end is your life.

That sounds morbid. But it’s not meant to be. This is coming from a place of appreciation. I appreciate all the times I’ve had. I just think about how all these times are harder and harder to hold onto with each passing day. And it makes me sad. Nostalgic is probably more accurate. I’m nostalgic for each and every passing day. In a year I’ll be nostalgic for these warm spring days in Brooklyn. When I finish traveling, I’ll be nostalgic for those times spent waking up and seeing new places every day. When I’m 40 I’ll be nostalgic for when I was 30. And when I’m a grandfather I’ll be nostalgic for when I was a father.

It’s all just constantly slipping away. I can’t believe where life came from and where it’s gone. I really cannot grasp it. It’s always leaving me. Life is flowing right through me. And all those memories just harden in my imagination and I wonder how so much time has passed since I made them. And I start to think about the direction I took in life to arrive where I am. And it’s almost unbelievable. At least it is to me.

How on earth did I end up here. Through the confusion, anxiety, and dumb decisions. How did I end up in this position? Where I am. And how did it happen so soon? Where did the time go? Nobody told me it’s over so fast. When it happens it’s always there. It’s eternal. Until it’s over. Abruptly. And unceremoniously. And now I’ve reached the stage where it’s time to make more permanent decisions. It’s time to make decisions that you can’t walk away from. And it seems like this just snuck up.

I watch everyone around me and it lets me know that this is all real. That time really is passing by. I just can’t verbalize this feeling of memory. Of remembering what that day was like way back when. And then realizing how long ago that really was. And how your life has changed. And then recounting the steps from there to here. I simply cannot do it justice. More than these sentences. It’s beyond my ability. But maybe you know what I mean.

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