It’s a week until my 33rd lap around the sun. 33 years-0ld. In some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started with my life. In others, I have seen many mini lives take place as the years have sped by. Recently, I got a black hourglass tattooed on my arm; artwork made by my Opa, which adorned the cover of his book The Empty Hourglass. The ink is a reminder to make every moment count, because you don’t get them back – and might be forced to repeat them infinitely…
I recently chatted with a man and his wife who were close mentors to me as a youth. Nearly 15 years had passed since we last spoke, and it was wonderful to see their smiling faces on my laptop screen, compliments of Zoom. We chatted like old friends, as I discovered the two of them now had eight children, experienced significant career shifts, and have homeschooled all of their children – partly as result of being inspired by our own homeschooled family.
Sometimes you figure out little puzzle pieces of your life many years after they happened. Today, I learned that he was one of my most loyal followers on my long-archived Xanga blog. I never knew who it was, but would receive regular comments, for years, on my blog. Over 15 years later, and I was stunned. Stunned enough to feel the urge to take a long, fast ride on Snakebite; my beloved motorcycle.
Cruising down the country roads in Mexico, while soaking in a mix of Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and Skillet playing from the speakers, I realized there have been a lot of people in my life that have given me their most priceless gift; time.
Time. “This is my everything” – a definition I coined a few years ago.
As I get older, my own understanding of time has changed. I used to eagerly wait for the moments to pass; hoping what was around the corner would somehow be better, more exciting, or different than my present. Now, I soak in each moment I have, appreciating it for the golden treasure it is.
You never know when your time will run out. Eat healthy – get hit by a bus. Life is full of such ironies. It seems like the good people get cancer young, while the jackasses of the world get elected to public office.
I don’t understand it, nor am I interested in figuring it out. All of us are on our own path, journey, and sacred life experience. Who am I to say that one path is more righteous than another?
What I can appreciate these days is a desire to live, and allow others the same courtesy to do as they please. Live and let live.
I used to live in fear that someday I’d find myself expecting a child out of wedlock – worried about what shame would come by way. Now, I realize that 50% of marriages fail. Hardly the sort of ‘golden standard’ I want to hold myself up to during these times, much like somebody criticizing an automobile for not having places to attach the saddle and stirrups…
Times change – so do we.
I’m not the boy I used to be, yet far from the man I know I one day will be. When I look around the the people in my life who have poured their time, love, and heart into me to get me to the point where I am today, I have a greater sense of peace, hope, and confidence that everything in my life will happen as it needs to – and in its own perfect time.
If I could give myself a message to my younger self, it would sound something like this:
Hey Aaron. It’s me. You. You might not recognize me now, because I look a lot different than the guy you thought you’d’ be when you were younger. Yet, there’s some part of you that might be surprised, because I’m the guy you secretly hoped you’d be like. I’ve lived, kiddo. So will you.
You’re not going to have a conventional life. You’re going to experience a lot of things that might scare you to think about, like losing people close to you, or experiencing difficult situations. What I want you to know is that you’re going to make it – with your head held high.
What you’re going to discover about yourself is that you always get back up. No matter what knocks you down, you’re going to develop an iron chin that can take a lick, ask for more, and turn around to deliver your own form of knockout.
Don’t try to be strong – because you already are. That smile of yours is something else, too. Don’t ever hide it.
Don’t worry about getting it right all the time. Worry about taking the shot, even if you don’t make it. That’s the only way you’ll get better, stronger, and further in life. Keep pressing forward, kiddo.
Don’t be afraid to say I’m sorry – but don’t live in your apologies. You’re not going to get things right all the time, and you need to forgive yourself when you’ve made a blunder. It isn’t anybody’s job to forgive you other than you, because some people never will.
Give Mom and Dad a hug for me. Don’t tell them why you did it – just let them know you love them, and always will.
Remember that you’re a good son, grandson, boyfriend, husband, and Dad. Even if you aren’t these things yet – you’ve got it in you to become them all.
Oh, and take good care of your siblings. They’re your best friends.
From 32 going on someday – I’m proud of you.