My brother graduates from high school next week, and he moved out of parents’ house this past weekend. I really can’t believe it. I remember vividly the day we brought him home; I was eleven when he was born. Over the years, I helped change his diapers and I helped him with his homework. I encouraged him. I fussed at him and I occasionally tanned his hide for him when he needed it. I watched him struggle with acne. I watched him excel at school. I told him he needed to grow up a million times when he was acting like a turd. Now he is. Grown up, I mean.
He’s still a turd most of the time too, but that’s besides the point.
How exactly did he get this old? Didn’t I just graduate high school? How did so much time fly by? I want the answers to these questions. And most of all, why don’t I feel this old? I am on the inside of my body, and I’m watching as the outside is garnering the effects of age. A fine line here. A little paunch there. The gravity of time takes the beauty of all.
I guess I’m also a wee bit jealous. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but I’ve never been much for planning the future. I find that the present moment demands every ounce of my attention. It’s both a blessing and a curse. My life may not be a dream, but I’m relatively happy at least. What I’m truly jealous of is all that potential. Don’t you remember what that was like? To have all those choices before you? To have all that power to shape your life? To be whatever person struck your fancy? I wish I had paid more attention back then, been more deliberate, chose my path instead of floating along the way I did. I suppose that’s a choice I made too.
I’ve been trying to find the words to explain this to my brother, but I am not gifted in the oratory department. I stumble over my words in real life conversation. I don’t really think it matters anyway. Like all eighteen year olds, he alone holds the secrets of the universe.
But if I could, I would do my best to impress upon him the gravity, the seriousness, of time; that we only get so much of it. Don’t waste it. Don’t regret how you spent it. Look to the future, but try not to worry too much about it. Be deliberate, but don’t let planning take your joy. Put your feet on the path to take you where you’d like to go, and then go do something fun. Make choices, and make sure your good ones are what defines you. Regard things from an eternal perspective, not a temporal one. Be carefree until you find a reason worthy enough not to be. And in the infamous words of Jack Dawson, make every moment count. God only gives us so many on this earth.
Maybe it’s not too late to take my own advice.