The Passing Lane
“We are all of us clocks whose faces tell the passing years.” — Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World
The older you get—and I’m in no way conceding I’m old yet—the more it feels like life is lived in the fast lane. not in that cool Eagle’s SoCal vibe way, but in that “Where did the time go?” way. We are each passing the time, while our accumulation of wrinkles and grays keep score. The rings on a tree tell the story of years of abundant rain balanced by years of scarcity and drought, and so do our faces.
Someone in the family recently tempted fate and announced he was cancer free all over social media. I sure hope he is, but can’t help but shake my head at the recklessness of his announcement. I’ve seen cancer return with a vengeance, reclaiming those who believed they were liberated. Does that mean we should we walk on eggshells? Of course not, but we shouldn’t tempt fate either.
It’s never been about how old we are, but how healthy. As the years pass by we see too many examples of vibrant people rapidly fading away as they succumb to injury or illness. Each example informs, and we learn not to be reckless in our habits, with our time, or with our proclamations.
Time flies by, and with each year we pick up another growth ring. Wrinkles tell a story of time and resilience. But we know that we’ll all enter the passing lane sooner or later.
For a similar reason, I have refrained from declaring where we are going, but only plan for possible courses, prioritize and prepare. I pause and mumble when asked the question, and sometimes offer plausible and potential outcomes. Then we depart and pick a direction, and hope we’ll get there safely. But even then I only hint at a possible ETA. We’ll get there when we get there, and then have a nice story to tell. Seems to work out better that way.