Time is an interesting illusion isn’t it? You certainly feel, given whatever side of Twilight you are on, that it is in abundant supply, maybe not infinite but certainly plentiful. Especially if you’re young, you tend to feel like you have more than sufficient time on your hands for your life to take some semblance of the shape you’d like it to. How many times have we heard the flippant disregarding of time? “We have all the time in the world.” “I’ve got nothing but time on my hands.”
What natural resource do we waste more than time, that we can never replenish, gain back, or find a substitute for?
Or maybe time is a sort of institution. A thing we are chained to, slave to, even if we don’t recognize it. We are indentured to our workday, to the 24 hours we have to do everything that our life calls for and still find time to handle the things that unexpectedly arrive. How many times have we all said, “There aren’t enough hours in a day.”
But is there enough time ever, really?
I can’t recall how many times I have looked back over my day, over my month or my year, and been exactly opposite of where I calculated I would end up. Things change. Conflicts arise. That simple thing you thought you could handle in “no time flat” became a complex issue anchored by sub-problems you have to solve before eventually solving the issue you set out to eradicate to begin with.
It is our way, to be careless with our time. We even tell our kids, “Don’t stress. You have time to figure it out.” I can’t tell you how many times when I’ve, in the middle of a quarter life crisis, bemoaned the pitiful state my life is in, and someone sought to quell my growing hysteria by saying, “You have plenty of time.”
I am 24 years old. I have time. I have time to (not) get married. I have time to decide if I will
have kids get a puppy every time my maternal urge flairs up (which is pretty much next to never). I have time to see the world, and buy a mini cooper, and build my glass house completely around a 500 square foot closet for my shoes . I have time to figure out how to get my little brother into college despite him being a high school drop out. I have time to mend my relationships with my parents. Time to take Bob to Spain and to found my school and to fix my credit and to get my Master’s and Ph.D and take that spa trip to Arizona and learn how to make pasta from scratch and learn Spanish and donate my eggs to an infertility foundation and make movies and buy Joy a car and research my family genealogy and grow my hair down to my ass and write a book. I’m young. Damn near infantile. I have time. We all do.
Until we don’t have it anymore.
What do you do when all you have left is all the time you used to have?
If you’re lucky, you spend that time in a house in New Orleans, surrounded by your family and your friends that are like family. Hopefully you spend it surrounded by laughter and spirited voices recalling happy memories. You can only hope that there will be an endless parade of friends and neighbors from all over 7th Ward, walking through the open and unlocked door to offer a story and a smile, a comforting touch to those you are leaving behind. Your eyes may not be open, but maybe with every inhale you will smell the aromas of the cuisine of the city you love and maybe it will bring to mind something that makes you smile. If you’re lucky, you will spend your end of time under a barrage off kisses and short hugs and whispered I love you’s in your ear. If you are lucky, everyone that comes to see you, to love on you, to pay their respects for the life you lived will see you not as the besieged vessel that cancer has stolen, but rather as the friend, the jokester, the playboy, the drinking buddy, the kind smile and easy manner that you were. You will be not a memory, but a presence, a warm blanket to those that wait for your illusioned time to pass. You won’t be alone, a prisoner to the ticks of the clock, but rather completely engulfed by multitudes, by admiration and peace, by love.
If you’re lucky.
So tell me, what are you doing to be lucky?