Note: This column appears in the 7/8 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/9 issue of the Peoria Times
So the other day, for about three minutes, I literally could not remember how old I was. Am I 31 or 32? Granted, the fact that I honestly could not recall my age meant that my guess should have defaulted to the higher number. And sure enough, after actually having to subtract 1978 from 2010, it turns out that, yeah –- I’m 32. Hooray.
It’s been two months since I, apparently, turned 32. Now, I understand that’s not exactly old. One of you may be reading this and saying, “Thirty-two? Pfft. Try being 98, jackass.” And to you, sir or madam, I say: Wow. You are old. I can't believe you are reading a blog. But while 32 may not seem old to some people, for me it’s like: thirty-two! It pretty much just dawned on me, mostly because my life for the past few years has been a whirlwind, and partly because I try not to think about getting older.
I have also found that I no longer use the barometer of my own age to judge the passing of time. For example, my Godson turned seven last month, and I was virtually incredulous. Seven? What the heck? Just yesterday I was holding him as a baby and now I’ve lived in Arizona for three years and he likes Star Wars and plays Little League. How did this happen?
The truth that “they grow up so fast” is hitting home for me now. There are times when I look at our daughter and –- all of a sudden; it happens overnight -- no longer see a baby, but a little girl. Every new thing that she does accelerates time exponentially, and she seems to be aging in light years.
I would venture to say that every single parent, upon finding out the good news about our little one, had for us one initial piece of advice: Enjoy this time now, because it will be gone before you know it. This was one of those things that I knew to be true, but couldn’t quite process. I mean, I generally try to enjoy time anyway. It’s always been a rule of mine. But it took some personal experience for me to fully grasp the concept.
On weekdays there’s about an hour from the time I get home from work until the time our daughter goes to bed. There is always so much to do in this window of time – put things away, feed the dog, get dinner started, etc. -– all of which I attempted to accomplish while talking silly to our daughter and watching her crawl around the floor. Then by the time I was just settled in, she was off to bed.
No more. Far be it from me to ignore great advice, and I’m learning how to capture every moment. When I get home from work now there is nothing to do except play on the floor, and get my khakis covered in dog hair and drool. The rest can wait. Tomorrow she will be playing Little League, and I still won’t know how old I am. But I won’t be breaking the calculator out anymore, because it doesn’t really matter.