Patient Aging

Seconds melt into minutes melt into hours into days, weeks and months. Time slips through me like sand through a pair of cupped hands.

They said kids grow up fast and boy, they weren’t kidding.

Every Monday I wake up and it’s Friday again. All good. I like Fridays.

Oliver and I joke that this is how we know we’re getting old. Then I realized it’s actually true.

There are people I know, older than me in age, that have some quality of sedate wisdom that I never quite understood. Most of them went through more years of shit, more pain, more confusion and generally winged it without a sense of direction for a longer time. And yet with all that extra baggage, they somehow absorbed love more readily than I, quelled the fire inside and developed a deep maturity.

Interesting, I thought. You’d think less time doing things the wrong way would make it easier to learn the right way.

In a sense, yes. Initially maybe. But it was explained to me that experience is like momentum, harder to change initially, but than easier to keep rolling once you get going.

Now I get it. Zoe is nine months old and some of my friends’ daughters are around 20 months old. The differences between them are enormous. To an adult it may just seem like less than a year, but Zoe is HALF the age of these girls. Half. As in 50%. With less experience, her understanding of life is pretty limited. Why does she scream like it’s the worst pain she’s ever felt when she’s teething? Gee, because it probably is. Why do kids cry when their favorite toy breaks? Because it IS a traumatic event for them. How could they have a greater understanding of the things that matter more in life? Like what, growing up, getting a job, raising a family? They haven’t experienced any of that yet. They can’t possibly conceive of it.

So as we age we become better able to integrate each new life experience into the bigger picture. Four years ago not getting a particular pair of shoes may have seemed like the end of the world but now that I’m in the process of establishing a family, not so much. You roll with the punches a little more.

Of course I still have a problem with overreacting, but it’s improving and moreover I understand the direction I’m headed in. If Oliver says this particular thing, and I react in this particular way, does it mean we haven’t made any progress and should be seriously concerned about doing more and growing faster in our marriage? Maybe for several minutes I still believe that. But I know where this conversation goes, just like every conversation before it. And I know how this marriage goes: we talk and learn and talk and learn and basically just keep doing that for the rest of our lives.

There’s nothing that time alone could solve, but if I’m doing all I can sometimes it’s best to just take a breath and know that if I continue on this path, I will mature with age.


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