Do you get morose at the start of the new year? Does the blankness of the new calendar feel depressing? I can't say that I get down but I do have a tendency for reflection upon the turning of a new diary page. I also have these type of reflections at funerals, at weddings, while baking cookies or cleaning the house. (Alas, I am constantly thinking.) Every so often I am in the middle of an activity or task and I think of the friends and relatives who were once my age and who also did that activity or task and realize that it was not so long ago. I am acutely aware of how short life is.
And how precious.
I heard an interview with the composer, choral conductor Alice Parker on Krista Tippett's On Being radio show. Ms. Parker is 90 years young and still working, creating and making music. In looking at her biography I felt something familiar. She is slightly older than my mom, yet the pictures of her with her short curly grey hair and the position and movement of her conducting arms reminded me of my mom. They were contemporaries in the choral conducting world although Ms. Parker was much more well known than my mom. Seeing her picture I felt a sadness of missing my mother because I can't talk to my mom any more. Did mom know her, ever sing with her? I feel that Ms. Parker might have been one of the instructors at choral music conventions my mom attended.
Listening to Ms. Parker had me reflect on my mom and what my mom and grandma were doing at my age, and what I am doing at that similar age. When I realize how quickly life passes, it can be daunting and makes one feel that there is not much time left for anything significant. If I am not careful I can allow myself to slide into the mire of despair and hopelessness.
Yet listening to Ms. Parker I am reminded that we shouldn't be concerned with the passage of time. No matter the age there is always work to be done and purpose to be found even in one's final days. We should just keep on for as long as we have breath.
I was also reminded of one of my favorite Cape Cod artists- Vivien Oswell. She is still painting and still creating even in her nineties. To meet her and talk with her, one would think she was at least twenty years younger.
Even though I may be acutely aware of the passage of time I need not be afraid. To live well is to live each day to the best of one's ability: to find purpose in what one is doing, whatever that might be and to continue doing it. Living well is to continue to create, to explore and to share with the world.
What about you? How do you view the passage of time? Do you ever think of it? Does it change how you live?
This year, let us embrace what each day brings, not knowing the future but not being afraid or morose about it either. This year I am game to keep working, creating, living.