Some people are haunted by night time. The darkness. The quiet stillness. Perhaps even by ghosts.
Others are haunted by loneliness. Being alone. Spending too much time alone. Abandoned or emotional loneliness yet surrounded by people.
Me, I’m haunted by time. Too much time, too little time. A minute, an hour, a day, week, year, years. Time running out. Time looking ahead, time reflecting backward. And the fact that I can’t catch time, hold onto it or stop it.
I’m always chasing time in one way, shape or form. I’m always thinking about the things I need to do; work, write, relax, how much time do I have to sleep. Enough time for family and friends. It’s exhausting thinking about the amount of time I spend thinking about time.
The thing about time is that it’s a concept. Kind of a tangible, intangible. When it’s here, it’s here and when it’s gone, it’s gone. You only have the time ahead of you to do different because you can’t change the time behind you. You can’t have yesterday back or as The Hurricane calls it….last morning.
I turned the calendar to February on a morning I was feeling particularly reflective. The calendar was a gift. Time is a gift. But unlike other gifts, you’re unable to purchase time like you can gift items. The calendar is a time piece of sorts, always moving forward. The theme of the calendar is Paris. Paris, a piece of time from my past.
Turning the page brought me back to last February when Kate and I were busy planning our trip to Paris. Booking our apartment, the train to Lyon and Giverny, purchasing tickets to museums and busy brushing up on our limited French. Last February, our Paris trip seemed like that time would never arrive. One of those things you talk about doing but you never actually do it.
But then time robs you of the moment once it does arrive. Paris was last year and the dread of it being one year in the past creates a dull, aching feeling deep within me. I want time back, I want that time back.
I want to be less in tune to time-sense. It’s like an imaginary bot is lurking around me at every pause and robbing me of time; time wasted, time I’m looking forward to and the time I spend in the moment.
I sat next to an elderly woman on a plane on my way back home last week, I would say she was in her late 70’s. It was obvious dementia was dancing with her mind. I thought how peaceful that must feel to have no concept of time. She was a lovely, soft-spoken, well put together woman; educated and had the grace of an eagle. She spoke of her family and of how fast her grandchildren had grown up. Repeating over and over about how fast the time goes. She was on her way to visit her brother in New Orleans. She spoke with a deep southern drawl, and they way she said “oh yes” and “a-ha” I found soothing, like listening to the gospel choir in the beautiful chapel of St. Chapelle in Paris. While I cringed every time she announced that time goes so fast, I knew that my higher power had placed this woman next to me for a reason. Another gift of sorts. A reminder to breathe and let time flow through me like the sound of this woman’s beautiful voice.
Once the plane landed in Denver I stayed with her until we reached her connecting flight. It was time well spent. Her name was Teresa, my grandmother’s name. She said I was an angel looking over her that evening. But really, she was my angel. I’ve written before on how connected I feel to people who come into my life at a time when I need a lesson. Teresa was my lesson about time. Not to fear it, not to try to control it, not to let time haunt me.
Time has a plan for all of us. Hopefully time gives me another trip to Paris with Kate in 2016 so that I can re-live time.
And I hope time is good to Teresa and that she has the opportunity to share her wisdom with other busy woman who need a lesson in slowing down.
While I can’t stop time, I can stop it from haunting me. I’m going to be more mindful of navigating through time a bit more efficiently with ease and grace like my beautiful angel, Teresa.
I challenge you to live in the moment this week, free of distraction and that rushed feeling. Take a deep breath, look around and practice paying attention to the present. Breathe in…breathe out. Don’t let the present slip away unobserved and unseized. Practice stillness and calm and have a great week!