Vacation is over. Somehow, so are the first weeks of 2016, too. My regular routine has been blissfully disrupted but I’m having a hard time getting back into the confines of routine, in which I function better. I do well, as I suspect many of us do, when I have some idea of what to expect in a day.
I’m reminded of a visit many years ago with my Gram, when a fax machine provided long-distance words of comfort after my grandfather died. Her gnarled fingers caressed the flimsy paper as she said, “Just imagine. They sent it last night from Japan and here it is today. Amazing.” Later she would tell me how wondrous and frightening it was to watch the rapid changes in her lifetime. After all, she lived through the eras of horse-drawn buggies, Model-T cars, trains and planes, and men on the moon.
“I’ve seen so many things,” she said. “Just when I get used to something, it all changes again. How will we ever keep up?”
Already, 1/2 of January has been crossed off the calendar, and it feels as though only a blink ago found me watching New Year’s Eve fireworks. There was much to celebrate as we said goodbye to 2015–a year filled with more than a few struggles–and prepared to welcome a new year. We did it with favourite people and awesome food, but little in the way of fanfare. Our friends and we appreciated the sentiment of a new year but longed more to give in to sleep’s call. It was perfect, really. A quirky, fun-filled memory tucked into the treasury of keepsakes. And I would have missed the fireworks had we not done our own countdown a few minutes shy of what the clock said.
As we drove back to our hotel, the entire sky exploded in streaks and bursts of red and gold. Blooms of fireworks on the horizon opened like time-lapse video of flowers. In the confines of our car with the fireworks in the distance, we never heard the pops and booms. We only saw the bursts of celebration. “And hope,” I remember thinking. It was a good beginning.
Even so, 2016 has already brought the sobering news of two friends I won’t be seeing anymore. I anticipated one death, not two. I had plans to visit the second friend in Paradise, Newfoundland and now I can’t because she resides in a different paradise. It all seems to have happened so quickly, and I wonder how I will ever keep up?
Then again, maybe keeping up isn’t the point. While the clock and the calendar seems to have sped up, the truth is the number of hours and minutes and seconds in a year remain consistent. More than ever, I’m keen to make this a year of not wasting them. I can embrace with intentionality–or shun the same way. These are the days I’ve been given but the choice in what to do with them is mine.