Ticking away the moments that make up the dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way

-Pink Floyd, “Time” 1973

When I was in my twenties, I had settled into a routine. Sure, my plans hadn’t come together the way I envisioned in high school. I was NOT working on my doctorate in Biochemistry at UC Davis – I was manager of a fast food joint. (Totally almost the same thing!) I was, however, deeply in love with my beautiful sainted wife, having fun, and busy all the time – or so it seemed.

Then I got the call one Friday that my grandfather was not doing well, and if I wanted to see him one last time, it should be soon. We planned to see him two days later – but the next morning, while getting ready for work, the call came that he was gone. It shook me, but I tried to go about my business. I had to go to work, right? In the car, on the way to work, “Time” came on. I pulled the car over and cried…

Not Wasted Time

And I know what’s been on your mind
You’re afraid it’s all been wasted time 

-Eagles, “Wasted Time” 1976

In a perfect world, this would be where I realized not to wait to tell people I love them, to go after my dreams, to make things happen… Yeah, that would be cool – but it wouldn’t be real. This is not a perfect world, and after spending a period of time moping and blaming my grandmother for not letting us know sooner; blaming my job so I “couldn’t” go right away (bullshit, of course I could have); blaming anything and anyone but myself – I slipped back into the same old routines. I spent time with my wife, worked, hung out with friends, but didn’t push myself outside my comfort zone.

I don’t regret that part of my life; far from it. That is part of who I am now; I’ve said this before. What I do regret is not realizing that I controlled my own destiny. That was a long learning cycle for me; I was still solidly in the victim/blaming phase of my life at that time.

It’s a tough habit to break; I still backslide some days. Blaming someone or something else is so much easier than being accountable! Until you stop letting other people control your outcomes, you can’t get where you want to go. I would sit on the couch and wish I was in better shape, wish I could play catch with The Boy and not get winded… There was always a reason I “couldn’t” get started (again, bullshit!).

Raising a child will give a whole new perspective on that blame game; I realize watching The Boy the lessons I’ve learned and try to help him see that he is responsible for his own decisions. However, the truth is we don’t learn from other people’s mistakes – we generally need to stumble and fall ourselves before it sinks in. Sometimes we need to fall a couple of times and whack our head before it registers!

New Beginnings

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

-Semisonic, “Closing Time” 1998

We are made of our past. This is true physically as well as emotionally. I have talked about this before; like my extra skin, there may be parts of us we wish could change. They are a constant reminder, though, of how far we have come and how much work went into that journey.

It’s important to remember, though, that we DO have the power to change ourselves and our environment. Every day I get up and go, I am making the choice to (continue to) change. Each time I offer support to someone else on their journey, I’m helping my own.

We have to keep moving, because time doesn’t wait around for us. We can learn, change, grow – or we can get left in the dust. So get up, get moving, make something happen. It’s time.

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

-Semisonic, “Closing Time” 1998

Featured image:
Photo by Josh Newton on Unsplash