29 August 2010

How did we get here so fast?

Lately I've been pondering life.

I know it sounds a bit cliché, but time really does fly, and with it, years and years of life.

It seems like just last year I was graduating from high school, zipping around with my friends, feeling invincible.

Drinking wine coolers and driving on our suburban streets, sneaking cigarettes and making sure to wash our hands after.

Thinking in 10 years I'd be married with kids. But also thinking that was oh so far away.

And then it seems like just a few months ago that I was graduating from college. Trying to figure out my path. Resisting becoming a pay-my-own-way adult.

Sitting with my friends right after graduation (now smoking pot and drinking wine), wondering where I'd be in 20 years.

Definitely married. Probably with two or three kids. And at least one dog. Living in the suburbs.

And here I am. Almost 20 years out of college.

Holy crap.

Really, where did the time go?

When you're in it, when you're living your life, you just don't realize how fast it all goes: pretty fast.

What sparked this post is something that happened this past week.

My coworker (KimPossible) and I met with some recent college grads, who were at our agency for an informational interview. They're trying to break into the ad biz for some reason. Probably Mad Men.

Anyway, we were sitting there, answering generic questions, and as I answered, I just stared at them.

Them: dressed up in their black pants and blouse and khakis and button-down shirt.

Little kids, dressed up in adult clothes. With makeup (on the girl) and a tie (on the boy).

When were we that young? Were we ever that young? Did we ever look that young? I don't really think so. But if we did...how did we get here so fast?

As we chatted with the toddlers about how now was the time for them to move to Chicago, one of them said (after pulling his pacifier out of his mouth), "Yeah, it's not like we have a mortgage or anything." And he laughed.

Yeah, well, I do.

And a husband and a kid and a dog and a car payment.

This meeting was kind of a wake up call to me.

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." (Yes, surprisingly, I can quote Socrates as easily as I can quote Lindsay Lohan.)

And now that I'm a bit older, I can see he had a point.

Time is moving and it's showing no mercy.

In 20 minutes, those two kids that we interviewed, those eager-to-get-a-job-and-start-their-lives kids will be where I am now. Wondering how it went so fast.

The weeks and months and years that I've willed to go by quickly because I'm trying to get to the weekend, are never coming back.

I've already lived half my life—which scares the shit out of me.

Forty years just flew by. And I feel like I haven't been present for most of it (pot-smoking, hazy days excluded).

Of course I have specific memories. Memories of the big things.

I remember holding my baby girl for the first time, feeling drugged up and like I'd been crying for days, but somehow so alert and elated and happy. This is a snapshot that's frozen in my mind.

But ask me what we did last week, last night, this morning... and I'll pause. Because I'm racing through my life. Like something's chasing me.

Recently, I had been complaining to my friends about all I do not have, and not considering all I do.

So I'm going to try and consciously pause. Be present. And look around.

Because there's a lot to look at.

I have a great husband. And a great kid. And a great dog. And it's all right here. All I have to do is pay attention. Because I don't want to miss any more.

After all these years, that flew in seconds,

I finally realized...I have an amazing life.