Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As Time Goes By

"Everyone is the age of their heart."  (Guatemalan Proverb)

Time's been on my mind lately.  Ironically, I found this excerpt in a Time magazine article from 1999 that fueled my interest even more.

"Sometimes it flies, sometimes it crawls, but it always passes inexorably. We mark it, save it, waste it, bide it, race against it. We measure it incessantly, with a passion for precision that borders on the obsessive."

Time is always passing - even though I don't often notice it.

April is often a slow month in a school year:  long and full, no "Spring breaks" or 3 day weekends to interrupt the march of workdays.  The divine vision of "the last day of school" and summer vacation is still a distant mirage.  The weather is maddeningly unpredictable:  sunny and blue skies one day (or even one hour!), gray, wet, and blustery the next day (or hour!).

So, sometimes April just seems to crawl along.  But in the last week or so, it's begun to fly.  My birthday is fast approaching (it's this Friday), and I've caught myself thinking about the fact that I'll be well over a half century old.  I've also been thinking about the fact that retirement for me from teaching is not so far, far away anymore.  

Holy cow!  That just doesn't seem real.  I don't think any of us ever really realize when we've "officially gotten old".  You could tell me that I've gotten "wiser", or "more experienced", or "a little grayer", but older?  Nah!  Aren't I the same old Jon that I've always been?  Isn't that the same old Jon looking back at me when I look into the mirror?

I still like to putter around in the yard.  I 'm still kind of a shy guy when you first meet me - but definitely a "ham" once I loosen up a bit.  I still have about the same amount of hair as I did in this picture from 50 years ago. (But I don't always tuck my shirts in anymore - thanks to fashion tips from my wife!).  

But the truth is I've changed a lot.  I'm not so innocent as I once was.  I know a little better what's really important to me - what my genuine passions are in life.  I'm more honest with myself about what my strengths, and my weaknesses, are.  I've learned that letting go of something is actually the first step to being given something greater.

Time has changed me.  Love has changed me.  I am a richer man because of all that time and love have brought me:  a beautiful wife and partner to share life with; a career that has allowed me to touch the lives of thousands; a comfortable home; a life filled with meaning and purpose.

I guess I'm just simply grateful for it all - grateful to God for bringing me all that he has over the last half century.

I pray my heart will always stay young.

"A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time." (Oliver W. Holmes, Sr.)

And when someone calls me an "old man" for the first time, I'll remember to smile!

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