And the years go by (if you are lucky)

It’s my last day of being 42 today. I had a friend who died at this age, of a brain haemorrhage. He was on holiday with his beloved wife and their three small children. They went to bed, and only his wife woke up in the morning.

Why does it take horrific happenings like these to remind us to live our lives? We think, when we hear about such tragedy, that it will always happen to someone else. Never to us. We take so much for granted. When my sons piled into my bed this morning, tumbling and hugging each other and trying to hug me too, I hauled them off each other, and off me, because I think I have all the time in the world for wild morning hugs like these. Of course, I don’t. I feel the years passing now at warp speed, and I have three rapidly changing little boys to demonstrate the voracious velocity of the years.

Sometimes it makes me panic, sometimes it makes me feel wistful, sometimes it sends me off into long meanderings in my head about how I really need to start taking care of myself so that I don’t succumb to one of the terrifying lifestyle diseases that so many of us end up getting. Rarely does it make me stop and exist only in the moment. You hear it all the time in relation to meditation and particularly mindfulness – living in the moment, being present. Now is all you have. We all know that intellectually but it can be hard to do if you spend a lot of time living up in your crazy-maze brain as opposed to in your body – feeling, sensing, smelling, loving. And crying, I guess. If living in the present is the ideal, then it’s necessary to live the crappy moments too. They often feel never-ending, but of course they do end. Everything ends. Everything begins.

So tomorrow, a new year begins for me. I want to live in it, and not in the years before, and not in the years after. But look at me now; writing this. Thinking about how I’m going to live next year – and not today. See how easy it is to forget?

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