I think we should scrap from our repertoire, how old are you?, (unless there is a biological-time-sensitive-related response). After I respond with my age, first I get the the slightest of pauses, then for the most part, though I’m not sure for how much longer, it is then followed up with, oh you still’ve got time or oh you’re young, don’t worry about that! It’s as if my age placed me in this system of time + milestone expectations, and for the time being, I’m still falling within my “window of time.” The worry for me can subside, if for a bit. The anxiety on my behalf, can fade, momentarily. I have once again received a soft stamp of YOU HAVE NOT COMPLETELY FAILED YET! With the silent but ever present, BUT REMEMBER, YOU DON’T HAVE ALL DAY, ALL LIFE, GET ON IT!
Or maybe all that preamble rambling exists because I am very self-conscious of my age. Because I do have ambient fear that my time is running out — to have a partner and travel before having a baby, to even have a biological baby, to play a teenager on TV, to drink merrily and wake up without a killer migraine. Because there are many things I want to accomplish and achieve before my parents are too old to celebrate with me. Because every time I turn on the TV or read the news, all the gold medalists, literally and figuratively, are younger than me.
Waiting with full awareness of a ticking clock can be full of anxiety. Each passing minute can feel like another minute that didn’t fulfill a desire. Each coming minute can be full of pressure and expectation. Each present minute is just the cream in the middle that we don’t even enjoy. I can’t tell you to simply, enjoy the present moment, even though that is literally what must do otherwise you’ll waste your life obsessing and worrying. Thing is enjoying the present moment is pretty damn scary & brave. It’s allowing yourself to take in the space and people around you at every moment. It’s giving yourself permission not to stress about what’s about to come, which requires a trust in timing. It’s embracing all that comes up in each moment, because when you pause and revel like this, a lot comes up. Smells. Sensations. Surprises. And when this happens, you are reminded how damn human you are, how porous and how fragile and how powerful.
So every time you are tempted to stress and compare, and figure out your placement in this timeline of should’s, I encourage you to feel your feet on the floor or your butt on the chair, take a deep breath and take it all in.
What are you surrounded by?
What are you full of?
What just surprised you? And now! And now!