Friday, August 19, 2011
It's Time to Slap Time Upside the Face
Today I was walking with my grown-up kid and my almost-grown-up kid on a college campus, right before we left to for the wedding reception of one of my daughter's friends. And we passed a woman making googly moogly eyes at her barely-out-of-the-womb baby boy. On the other side of the hall was a couple who were celebrating their 200th wedding anniversary.
That's a whole lot of generations and milestones all packed together in one place.
It was really deep and profound and stuff. And then I realized something: The Universe had a message for me. And that message was this: Dude. You are OLD. You did that whole marriage-thing that your daughter's friend is doing, like twenty-five years ago. And that two-week-old baby? Four of them popped out of you in succession like little cabbage patch dolls trying to make their way out of a McDonald's PlayLand--leaving you in varying states of pulled, stretched, floppy, lined, and sleep-deprived, I might add--about a thousand years ago. Yep. It's been that long.
Which means there's just a week or two until you and your husband will be celebrating your bicentennial together. Right after your last kid will have just graduated from medical school. (Someone's going to have to warn him about this, though. The boy hates the sight of even a piece of paper that is thinking about committing a paper cut and raising a drop of blood.)
All of which means I must ask this: Where the Stephen-Hawking did all that time go? And given how quickly my time seems to be passing, how much do I have left?
Well, I don't know. But I do know that the way my circle of life is going, if I don't get a few things done, and quickly, they ain't happening. I don't want my kids to be cleaning up my office after my funeral and opening a drawer to find an unfinished manuscript sitting there. Or a finished one that was never queried.
I don't want them finding manila folders full of recipes that have "Try This" scrawled across the top.
I don't want them finding stacks of travel brochures to places I've never been, like Kuala Lampur, or Scotland, stuffed between the pages of the adventure books I've never read.
Above all, I don't want my kidlets feeling a hole where all the things I haven't taught them yet should be sitting.
No regrets. That's what I want. And that means embracing life all the way. Not hanging back. It means grabbing the needle from the nurse who is fishing in my arm and jabbing it in myself--á la Russo. It means joining a made-up language choir and hopping a flight to Middle Earth if I need a bit of New Zealand in my life, á la Maegan. It means querying my humor book and finishing my either-middle-grade-or-YA-book-I-can't-tell-yet, and getting it out to agents, á la . . . well . . . me.
Because, this year, I am going to embrace. People. Life. Me.
You do it too. Then report back here and let me know what you learn. We'll chat. I'll pour the lemonade. We'll slap the Circle of Life so hard Father Time will slow down and fill our lives with success. Deal?