I'm writing this entry (or at least, will have started it) at YOW, the Ottawa International Airport. I am not here to work but rather, to await the return of my sweetie, home soon after almost three weeks over-seas.
Three weeks: not an insignificant amount of time. Close enough to 6% of a year, if you want to put it in perspective.
And temporal perspective is something that's been hitting me a lot lately. More or less since I turned 50, come to think of it.
Unlike any previous milestone, this one gives me pause. I suspect the physical deteriorations of my parents, and a favourite aunt's early-stage dementia has something to do with it, but so to does the sheer extent of my own existence.
To put it another way: If three weeks is not an insignificant length of time, than 50 years is a fuck-load of it.
It's not just a lot of time in terms of a human life. Think about it. The first half of the 20th centure — 50 years — saw not one but two World Wars and a Great Depression, not to mention the widespread adoption of technologies like the automobile, the airplane and the televison, but also the invention of entirely new art forms: film, comics, jazz, rock-and-roll.
My own half-century is even more spectacular. Space-flight. Computers. The internet. Fifty years ago, homosexual acts were criminal acts, and a husband could not, in law, rape his wife.
All of which is to say: though I don't feel old (or even, much older), I've rather suddenly become all to aware of the passage of my time. Of goals and dreams unacomplished, of mistakes made. Of the sudden tangible reality of my own mortality.
I have become aware of death in a way I never was before. Or rather, of my death.
It's not that I am afraid of dying. I'm an atheist. Death holds no terrors for me. Rather, it's that I feel ... disturbed at the prospect of just how little time I have left. Let's face it: the odds that I have another 50 years ahead of me — never mind 50 good years — are not in my favour.
I dunno, really. There really isn't much point to all these words, other than a sudden desire to articulate what has been inchoate sensation, this realization that time is running short, if not quite (yet) running out.
I hope it proves to be a spur of some sort, something to goad me into making better use of my time than I have in the past. I do still feel as if I have the talent and brains to make something at least somewhat memorable of my life.
But by god, I guess I'd better get cracking!
Right. Speaking of time, Raven's plane will be landing in about five minutes. Time to wrap this up; time to pack away my miraculous portable computer, time to stagger downstairs and wait to hold her in my arms once again.
Life may be short but, as my mother has taken to saying, lately it has also been good.
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