Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't Blink

If you're not a fan of country music there is a song out there by Kenny Chesney called Don't Blink, if you can't stomach listening to the music you really should read the lyrics because it is such a truthful song... life does go by way to fast.


My kids grandmother is dying, not in the same sense that we are all dying but actually dying, dying the kind where you might have anywhere from a few months left to potentially taking your last breaths any minute. The Ex recently gave me a stack of pictures that her mother had taken from when the kids were really young, pictures I didn't have since I really didn't start taking lots of pictures until after the Ex and I parted ways. I guess for some reason it never dawned on me that I should be taking every opportunity to make sure I had plenty of memories of not only the kids lives but my life also, I suppose it was the first time in my life that there was a chance that there would be something important out there that I might miss if I wasn't careful.


Scanning in those photos brought a flood of memories; memories and realization of just exactly how many years have passed between then and now... and inversely how it seemed like it hadn't been that long at all. It's weird how you don't even think about how fast time is passing by until one day you stop and look around and everything is different; everyone is older and a few people maybe are even gone. It seems funny that we all know that we only get one life yet how many times do we find ourselves wishing that it was tomorrow or next week or next month. Why are we in such a hurry to get to get older, grow up and move out on our own? There are numerous inspirational posters, placards, calendars and knick-knacks conveying a message that the only day we have is today, how we should live in the moment or how everyday is a gift but how many of us really live those sentiments?


In the pictures my kids are still little, still innocent, they still believe in things that they will someday learn are only things of childhood that they can't bring them with them into adulthood. Here in the real world where the clock never stops ticking they only slightly resemble those faces of their youth in the pictures, one is in High School and the other in Middle School. Almost adults, almost ready to start their own lives... and through it all I can't help but think how much I have missed, how many birthday parties with their friends, how many "family" Christmases, all the growing up they have done that I only saw from the outside. As the non-custodial parent there is so much you miss out on, most of the little day to day things and all you are left with are weekend glimpses, a pile of photos and thoughts of what if...


People often comment on how many random pictures of random things I take, how it is odd that I seem to always have a camera of one kind or another on me and maybe they are right but maybe they aren't and maybe I am not willing to take that chance. I would rather be at the end of life surrounded by memories of my life that I can pass on to my kids, grand kids or great grand kids than to be at the end of my time with a failing body and memory with nothing to show to anyone that I was here, that I lived and that I too was young... once.


"Don't Blink
just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
just might miss your babies growin' like mine did
Turning into moms and dads; next thing you know your better half
of fifty years is there in bed> And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend, one hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't Blink"

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Restitution

Another year has come and gone, a new one is upon us and of course that means everyone and their dog is making some sort of resolution. I am not sure why it is that people need to wait until a certain date to promise to do something for themselves that they probably promised themselves last year and the year before that... and the one before that. I am not saying that people shouldn't strive for self improvement and set goals but how motivated are you really if you have to wait until the first day of the new year to start it? I think that maybe what we need instead of making a resolution to do something next year that we failed to do by the second or third month of the current year is self acceptance. I know when we are knee high to a grasshopper we are all told that we can be whatever we want to be if we put in enough effort. Unfortunately that is just not true, while there are things that you can accomplish through hard work there are also things that no matter how hard you try you just aren't going to change... if you are five foot tall no amount of trying, wishing or resolving is going to make you six foot tall, we all have different genetics, different strengths and different struggles; no two of us are alike and we should never judge our own happiness based on other peoples opinions about us. Instead of trying to figure out what it is about ourselves that we think we need to change maybe we need to figure out why it is we don't like whatever it is about ourselves that we want to change. I think for a lot of us some of the things we think we need to change to be happy are things that society tells us we should change about ourselves which is why we continually fail. Society tells us we should all be thin, we should all be non-smokers, we should all dress alike, look alike, act alike, think alike, basically we should all conform to "the norm". Maybe we fail at resolutions because deep down inside we don't really think whatever it is we resolve to change really needs to be changed as much as we feel we SHOULD change it because we are told we should. If you don't like to go to the gym and you are relatively healthy, why force yourself to go to the gym because someone told you that you need to lose 15lbs... as long as what you like to do isn't illegal and doesn't harm anyone else why let someone else tell you that you need to change? I guess the way to tell if you are serious about making a change in your life for yourself is when you do it, changes made by you for you are those made on any given Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of the year, those are the changes we truly want to make. The ones we need to "resolve" to make are probably those destine to fail because of a lack of real desire. I have no resolution this year much like I didn't have one last year, I have goals for this year but most of those goals are a continuation of goals from last year built on a foundation of hard work over a course of a life time not decisions I felt I needed to make on a whim because it's a new year. This year maybe we all need to give our selves a New Years Restitution... to give our lives back to ourselves and to do whatever it is that makes us happy and to give the finger to all of those who think we need to do something different because they aren't happy with our choices. This year maybe we should choose to love ourselves for who we are and not who we think we need to be.