As I travel life’s road, I realize, the path I view in the windshield is considerably shorter than the path I glimpse in the rear-view mirror. And because I haven’t been taking care of my health, along with external stressors, it is getting shorter.
I have had, on average, a good life. Sometimes fantastic, other times, downright horrid. It is often said the journey, not the destination, is that which is important. As I have crossed the hump that took me over age fifty, I not only get the cliché’, I actually embrace it.
Whether Steve Jobs, whose had immense wealth and intellect, or a pauper begging for scraps in the street, in the end, their paths not only intersected, but joined in exactly the same place. Yes, Jobs may have an expensive memorial shrine, loved by some, hated by many, and remembered by all, while the pauper may be resting in a potter’s field, unknown and anonymous to the world – however, those “things” matter only to the living.
I am at the age my ex-fiancé was seventeen years ago. That was also the age difference, seventeen years. My thirty-five-year-old self, cared not, he was in love. The age, the number, did not bother her – but in the perfect vision of history, there was something unspoken, unexpressed, perhaps unknown, that had deeply concerned her. It was something I did not understand, could not understand, would not understand, until I journeyed those years.
Thirty-five-year-old me was looking forward to a future, to forge ahead on a road together, a road on which she had
already left her footprints. As she tried to retrace her steps, a desire to move forward on her new path, caused me to be clingy, needy, insecure and jealous.
As her needs led her forward, my needs desperately clung, frantically trying to bring her back. The more tightly I held, the easier it was for her to leave.
It wasn’t love, or lack thereof. It wasn’t desire, or lack thereof. It was the simple fact that life is a journey forward. A journey that is in fact finite.
As I look back at the nearly twenty years, I do not want to live them again. They are the past, the good, the bad, the mediocre, they are experiences I had, for me they are completed.
The thirty-five-year-old me viewed the future as full of possibilities. Unfulfilled in what I had or where I was, always searching, always seeking for that which would be next.
Educated via experience, and as I stated earlier, the realization that the distance of the road ahead is ever decreasing, the dreams of youth are replaced with the sometimes stark realities of life.
What was thought was necessary for happiness in now known to be untrue. My past self, planned for months and years into the future. My current self makes no life plans past the moment. My past self, thought in grandiose ideals, hoping for a day when, if I worked hard enough, I would attain…… My current self, as I turn in for the night, hopes that I wake rested and healthy for the next – and some nights, hope I simply wake the next morning.
My past self, even grand accomplishments were never enough. My current self, revels in the small gifts bestowed upon by life.
I now get it – It wasn’t an age difference; it was an experience difference. Experiences that can only be understood not by live lived, but the realization the limited life there is yet to live.