Archive | February, 2011

Time Keeps on Ticking

12 Feb

My mom is obsessed with clocks. Actually, to be more precise, she is obsessed with buying clocks for me. As I sit in my living room with the TV turned off (a very rare thing in my home), I am nearly deafened with the tick, tick, ticking of the seven clocks within my visual range. Four of my seven living-room clocks have pendulums, which give them an added insistence. They swing back and forth ticking away, pendulums waving “look at me, look at me”!

All told, I count a grand total of 16 clocks in my modest home. This does not include the myriad watches I have stashed in drawers and jewelry boxes, nor does it include my computer / phone / iPod / Blu-Ray player / DVR clocks. Just the old-fashioned, so-20th-century timepieces that I have hanging on walls or propped on tables. All ticking. Ticking…. ticking.

Someone much smarter than me said that the only things you can count on are death and taxes. I’d like to propose an addition to that short list: the infernal, maddening passage of time. Nobody knows how many more tick tocks they will get, but whether any of us are here to see that pendulum swing, it will still be swinging.

Now, what does that mean for me personally? Of course, my mind goes right to those tedious platitudes like, “right now is a gift, that’s why they call it the present”, which is supposed to make me stop fretting and start living. I’ve tried that. All I find myself doing is fretting about fretting and how to stop fretting. It’s a horrible, cyclical nightmare that’s crapping all over my gift of the present. Living in the now is hard work. If I don’t look at the past, I can never feel that lovely cringe I get when I recall my more drunken adventures. Avoiding addressing the future means that I won’t have crossed anything off a to-do list that never was written, because I was too busy reveling in the here and now. I’d exist completely for my own hedonistic pleasure, living off of red velvet buttercream cupcakes and forgetting to water the plants.

Waiting, hoping, dreaming… those are all contingent upon the future. That needlepoint pillow is right about one thing – the future hasn’t happened yet – but if we just camp out in the now, we miss much of the beauty of living. The past is who we are. It’s something we can’t get away from, because it’s completely woven into who we are today. As Frank said, “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Imagine Frank Sinatra without a past! Just try to hear that voice sing without all the years of living behind each note.

As I write this, my mother’s clocks are tick tocking away. There’s no getting away from time. Past, present, and the hope for the future are all any of us has. I guess it’s when we completely mire ourselves in the past or plan so much for tomorrow that we really do lose out on today. “Right now is a gift…”. Well, then let’s unwrap it.