Lately, I’ve plowed through life with the thought in my head as Tom Waits phrased it on his Orphans (2006) album, “There’s lotsa good rubber left on these tires /And I got all the time in the world!” But New Year’s Day is a time when everyone takes stock of time: time-spent and time-to-come—and I am no exception. I have taken stock to realize that actually…I don’t have all the time in the world.
I don’t mean this as a panic of old age or a morbid sense of impending doom…it is simply a realization: I don’t have time; I pass through time at varying rates and never really “have” control of it. I can’t dole out time carefully, nor can I make time hurry past. I remember thinking in November that I “had time” to get ready for Christmas…until a day or two before Christmas, when I panicked that I still had much preparation to do and no time left! Where had my time gone?
As I’ve been taking stock on this New Year’s Day, I watched the Twilight Zone marathon and heard Max Phillips (Jack Klugman) bemoan a regret in the episode, “In Praise of Pip” (1963). He says, “I should have known how little time a man has to raise his son.” Looking back over time-spent usually makes it feel foreshortened; long-ago never seems so long ago! I can remember holding my newborn son and later my newborn daughter in my arms and it feels like yesterday. When I stood in the hospital and held each of them, this day more than 26 and almost 24 years later seemed impossible to imagine…maybe because the possibilities were infinite, the time-to-come seemed very, very far away.
Looking back, I feel as if most of my life were “just yesterday”: growing up; school days; being a boy, then a teen, then a young man; my wedding; the children; all the losses and changes along the way…as if they were all just yesterday.
By comparison, looking ahead to 2018, I feel as if it’s distant time-to-come…just getting through the current cold snap feels as if it will never end! The flowers of spring seem too distant to imagine; the warmth and produce of summer seem too distant to dream; and the holidays of 2018…will I be ready in time? But I won't let myself rush through the time-to-come because I don’t have time…I spend time and I should spend it carefully.
Last New Year, I told about the success of my 2016 resolution to begin and maintain this blog; keeping that resolution led to side-benefits I couldn’t have foreseen. Today, I will make a resolution for 2018: to spend each day of the new year as carefully as I spend my money—365 days-to-come: where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. Then, on New Year’s Day 2019, I wonder if 2018 will have felt like too little time.