After reading one of my favorite blogs, Catching Days, I realized how important the measurement of time is to us. We measure time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, month, years, and so on. I’ve caught myself “stealing a minute” of someone’s time, so it must be valuable. “Time is money.”
We even bookmark the most important moments of our lives by giving them anniversaries. We celebrate the occasions each year. Some anniversaries are pleasurable events that we want to remember, and some are darker moments that we wish we could forget. Nonetheless, we think of these things that have happened in our lives. We remember.
I have the crazy ability to recall things that happened when I was only 2 years old. I don’t think back to those events and immediately recall the year in which they occurred. Instead, I find myself remembering which house my family lived in at the time. Before I turned 3, we must have lived in a handful of rent houses. I remember playing with a box of Christmas ornaments, and destroying the pretty angel tree-topper. I’m not sure if my mother was too sad about that, or if it gave her an excuse to buy a new one. In that same house (or possibly an old apartment), I decided to eat some very delicious baby aspirin and wash my hair in the bathtub without any water. Where was my mother? Bless her heart. She was probably suffering from morning sickness. I don’t remember her being pregnant with my brother, but he definitely wasn’t born yet. That event happened a couple of houses later.
After we bought the house I would grow up in, I began to measure time in birthdays. Then I started school, and began counting the years by grade levels in school. The important school memories were bookmarked by which teacher’s class I was in, and what grade it was. Even summers were called “the summer after 7th grade” and such.
The college years were certainly worth bookmarking. The whole college scene was eye-opening. I wish I could relive it. There is some truth in the notion of killing brain cells. I had a good time, drinking my brain cells away when I probably needed them most. I made dumb choices and some of the best decisions of my life. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was ready to switch into adult mode. However, if I had only realized that adulthood just sort of got mashed up together in a big glob of time that went on forever, I would have tried to slow down the college years. They were fantastic.
The next phase of life is a blur. My first marriage was horrible. I was adulting, but my ex was not. I was a good teacher. I think I was a good wife, but it didn’t really feel like a marriage. It was just a patch of time that is gone. For a person who has such an amazing memory, it is dumbfounding to realize how little I can recall from those years. From 1990 to 2001, things are just hazy. I had my son in 1996, after a few years of infertility, and then promptly suffered 2 miscarriages. I worked on my MSE in counseling while going through a very nasty divorce. I had played by the rules, but felt that I was losing the game.
I became a counselor in 1999, just as my divorce was officially getting underway. The extra income was welcome as I learned to manage a household as a single mom. I started living again, but began measuring time in a new way. It became all about my son’s age. I look back to those years, and remember how old he was, what grade he was in, or even which baseball team he was on. But I cannot tell you how old I was. Funny, isn’t it? It’s been like that ever since. I struggle right now to remember how old I am. I don’t remember events by what year they happened, but I can tell you what grade my son was in.
There is one exception: My marriage to Tracy. The wedding was March 22, 2008. I will never forget that date. Life has been good since then. We have still been consumed by the ages and activities of our sons. (He has two. I have one.) The youngest is a senior in high school though, so I will need to find a new way to measure time soon. The oldest has given us a granddaughter. I’m not sure if time will be someday be measured by her age, or if she is just the beginning of a string of grandbabies. Who knows? Time will tell…