Monday, February 27, 2017

#222 - Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping, Slipping

"I felt the beat of my mind go drifting into time passages, years go falling in the fading light" - Al Stewart "Time Passages"

In December, I marked a milestone birthday. For those unaware, a milestone birthday is one of those occasions you are mostly happy to have reached. At the same time, a part of you laments that another such day has come and gone, leaving you to contemplate the fact of aging and, if you are morbidly inclined, think about your own mortality.

To mark the occasion, I wrote a song I simply titled "Time." (You can view the lyrics here.) It addresses and references, I think, the typical things one thinks about as one ages - lost opportunities, wasted time, life sort of sneaking up on you and then past - you know, cheerful stuff like that.

I don't know whether it has or can be scientifically proven, but anecdotal evidence, along with my own personal observation, suggests that it is in fact true that time passes more quickly as one ages.

It is as if, rather than proceeding along a straight line, time follows an arc. It seems to climb uphill (and thus pass more slowly) when one is younger. How many of us when we were young would blurt out to our parents or some other adult "I can't wait until I'm old enough to move out and live on my own" or words to that effect?

When we are young, time seems to drag in a sense. It is as if some unseen hand is holding the reins, slowing us down to keep us from rushing too fast into our future.

As we enter adulthood, time's arc seems to level out a bit. There is still a slight uphill climb as we establish our careers, perhaps marry and begin a family. We hit a sort of pinnacle where we are somewhat established professionally and personally while still young enough to pursue new goals and dreams.

Then we hit middle-age. The downhill portion of the arc begins. Our children, if we have them, seem to grow up overnight. Our careers, perhaps, no longer hold the allure they once did. Or other thoughts begin to compete for space - travel, retirement, grandchildren. We begin to lose friends and family to illness or age at a greater rate.

This is not to say that we all take to our rocking chairs and simply wait for the end to come. It does mean that we begin to recognize that there is an end point. Perhaps we try to cram in things we thought of doing when we were younger but never got around to for one reason or another.

In my case, that thing has been music. I've always enjoyed singing, and when I was younger, I thought I had a decent voice. So, I began taking voice lessons. For the last few years, with the help of my wife, I have been regularly singing around town.

For years, I wrote song lyrics as a way to express my emotions and dreams. As I've gotten older, those efforts have improved to the point that I wanted to share them with others. Again with my wife's help, I have been able to set a number of those lyrics to music. In December of 2015, we put some of those songs on a CD for friends and family. This summer, we hope to put out another CD.

Last fall, I also began taking guitar lessons. At this stage in life, I have no illusion or aspiration of becoming the next Chet Atkins, Mark Knoffler, or Carlos Santana. However, I hope to learn enough to be able to arrange some of my own songs and perhaps even accompany myself on occasion.

I do not know exactly where on time's arc I currently reside. I know I am on the downhill portion of the arc (unless our average lifespan suddenly increases to 150 years or more). I also know there is still plenty I want to do, some of it an attempt to make up for lost and wasted time.

Some people say it is never too late to pursue your dreams. Well, technically, at some point it is too late. (Death comes to mind.) However, I have not yet reached that point. So, I keep on dreaming, and I keep on chasing.

"Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight." - Al Stewart

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