“It’s about the light. It’s always about the light…I feel time passing with the shifting of light patterns. I stayed at the Newsroom Café 14 years partly, I think, because you don’t feel time passing there. The early darkening though. I feel it. Sometimes I panic and grab a table corner or doorway as if to stop the passing of it. Time. Because what if I don’t get where I need to before it’s too late. Before it’s dark? Before I’m old(er)? Before I’m dead. Before someone else gets there first?,” Jennifer Pastiloff. As I spoke about time yesterday, I came across this one that I saved. It so perfectly encapsulates what I feel about time, feeling it pass and slip through my fingers, simultaneously intangible but SO palpable. I think a lot about my childhood and, in spite of the traumas, how safe I felt. Why I stayed with my parents for so long and why I cling to them so desperately. I can see the way the light looks when it hits the lawn, or when it enters a room and I am instantly transported back to those moments. And then I get so fearful and heavy because those moments are gone and what if I am never safe again?
Life moves forward regardless of where we are stuck mentally. And I’ve been living with my foot on the brakes, trying to stop life from moving forward because I’m afraid of losing what can’t be brought back. I feel like those I love the most, the ones I have relied on the most are at the point in their lives where they are trying to run out the clock and I have no control over that. We have no control over when the clock runs out, period. No amount of control or stomping our feet will ever stop it. And that complicates things when you have trauma because the trauma sticks you at a point and the world keeps moving on around you. You see it moving, you know you’re getting older too, but you aren’t moving with it and then you panic that you need to catch up but you don’t have the skills and you’re afraid you don’t have enough time to learn.
So we talk about presence and trying to stay in the moment, because this is all we have. Right now. This is the time we are gifted and this is the time we have to work with. To make the most of it, we need to be with it. But how can we be with it when we are still agonizing over things long since passed or things that have us filled with so much insecurity that we don’t know how to feel who we are? It is a struggle to get through those moments, every day. Throw in working for someone else and we start to see that how we spend our time isn’t really working and that queues up the fear of wasted time again.
The rest of Pastiloff’s quote talks about her realizing and reconciling that she is right on time. Rationally, I can get behind that, but emotionally, the fear is still there. Fear of missing out, fear of not doing it right, fear of losing everything I love. Again, things we have no control over. I have a few brief respites when I’m brought back down to Earth with gratitude and acceptance. I have a lot to be grateful for. I am tired, but my work, my soul, my heart, my body have gotten me here. And this is the definition of surrender. We have done what we can with what we know, we continue to look for the signs, but we have to accept that what is, is meant to be.
The truth is all we can do is our best. Yes, there are tons of scary unknowns but we can’t let fears, rational or otherwise, dictate the course of our lives. We have no say in how other people live their lives either. We all have to do our best and allow everyone else to do the same. We make the most of the time we have here, because in a sick way, the fleeting nature of it is part of what makes this life so precious. We are only as stuck as we make ourselves. We can decide at any time that we can put down the weight and the pressure of our past, the weight of the shields we all create, and pick up our own lives. Light doesn’t change the life we are in right now. We can redefine the trigger, and find the beauty in each moment.