Sunday, November 26, 2006

more tomorrows than yesterdays. for now.

this past week i had the chance to hang out with my family, we had a wonderful thanksgiving weekend and had the opportunity to spend a lot of time just reading and listening to the new album leaf record (a perfect compromise for parents opposed to anything to loud.) we went to an imax presentation of into the deep, a 45 minute documentary on creatures in the ocean, some that i had never seen or heard of before. it was beautifully filmed and danny elfman solidified himself as my favorite soundtrack writer.
afterwards we stumbled into a museum which turned out to be a children's museum, and after a couple of minutes the lot of us were completely jejune & done looking. on the second level hidden away was a doddering machine that had an anti smoking warning from a local police department.
as i sat down i realized that the machine projected what you were going to look like throughout the rest of your life, i was instantly intrigued. after i took the picture i waited the minute required in processing. then it appeared.
me at 82.
i sat still staring. staring myself years and years from now. i looked sad. my eyes were worn, my face sagged, the bags under my eyes were dark and my hair had turned grey. i can't tell you what happened but it clicked. i realized that we are all going to get old. we all know the fact, but we never have to stare the reality in the face. that was me and i was him.
what would he have wished i would do different now? why did he look so sad? what thoughts were going through his head?
who is his family? who did he choose as his wife? what were his regrets? if he could switch just one day with me what would he do, would he go and call all his family members and tell them how much he loved them? would he warn someone of danger or avoid a person all together?
i took a picture of myself with my camera and have to admit that i have stared at the picture for a couple days now, its rather inspiring or sobering in an odd sort of way. because i think to myself that i cannot waste time. i want to know that these hours of rest are spent wisely. that whatever i put my hands to i must do with all my heart.
we are all going to be there someday. we don't see it now, and for others we don't want to admit it. but were all going to be at a point where we have more yesterdays than tomorrows.
take today, and for the rest of the day pretend you are 82 and magically you have one more day in your body, in your mind.
what are you going to do with this gift of life in the spring of it? because when winter arrives, and it will, hopefully you have spent your days wisely and have very few regrets.

13 comments:

Lindsay Caitlin said...

The reality you talk of is so hard to imagine now. I'm 16. Two more years and I'm out of high school. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to many, but life is passing me by so quickly. My family is getting older, and I see my grandparents and the inabilities they've aquired over the years. Where did their lively bodies go? It is a sad fact, one that I don't want to look at now, but I know I will be faced with it someday- we grow old and life eventually ends.

I try to live my life with that knowledge so instead of wishing my life away, I treasure every moment of my youth. But thank you for bringing me to that realization again.

kris said...

i don't think you could've written this at a more fitting time. the emprical light in the attic came on for me as well, but in a much different way. in the past two weeks my eyes have stared at a loved one who had aged years in a matter of months. and in a prolonged blur i was looking at someone whose yesterdays, as well as their tomorrows, ceased to exist.

i try my hardest to live by the same words you have written. one thing is for certain, 82 may not come for some of us. she wasn't 82 (a little less than a decade shy)... but she did spend the remainder of her winter warm and with her family.

Seraphic Single said...

I'm 35, which is rather pushing the limits of youth. But whenever I walk home across the bridge separating Cambridge from Boston (MA, USA), I stop and look at the view of downtown Boston down the river. And I say to my friend, "Look! We're still young and we're studying in the 'Athens of America!' Let's enjoy the moment!" (Eventually she's going to get tired of me saying that.)

I have a couple of lines in my face: studying ones where my nose begins and smile ones. But I think of them as GOOD lines, a life well lived (so far) lines.

loveenduresall said...

I look at my grandmother who is 72 and imagine myself at her age. I hope and pray that I will look at least half as good as she does, she looks about 50. She actually has not changed much my whole life. I saw her recently and was just amazed at how she looked, like time has stood still for her, which considering she has not had too easy of a life her face only shows a couple of smile lines.
She is an amazing woman who raised 7 children and laughs all the time and is a joy to be around. I dont remember her ever being negative or hateful, just full of life and love. I have asked her about regrets, yet she does not choose to discuss them, but simply say that we all have them and it is up to us to either get past them or dwell and getting past them and learning is the best choice!
I love her so much and hope to get to her level of happiness one day, and have my children and grand children and great grand children love me and admire me as I do her. I hope to one day find my life's companion and spend each day showing them how precious they are to me, as I do my children now.
Each day is an opportunity to be a blessing to others and I intend on living my life each day based on that.
-A
PS. I am trying to imagine you- Stephen at age 82 and I think that you will be a happy old gent that can look back and be pleased that he lived his life to the fullest and helped so many. :)

Mich said...

stephen, your blogs are truly thought-provoking. and while i continue to process your words, i just want to say that your observations are very appreciated, the awareness created, mind-boggling,

and you are loved - by so many - for who you are. :)

Lost Angeles said...

That, my friend, is something I've always wished I could do; to know what my older self would regret; to change whatever it may be. You truly could not have said it better. Although I know nothing I want now can possibly be anything like what I will have wanted later in life, I hope that when I do look back, I'll remember myself thinking this, and having no regrets.
You've instilled brilliance as always. :)
-Raechel

Christopher said...

This is somewhere my mind has kinda been lately. Realizing the brevity of life and importance of being kind to everyone all the time.

Alice-Bo-Balice said...

I like how you put that...
We have more yesterdays than tomorrows.
It's really true.

Mich said...

'Yesterdays Make Your Tomorrows', so says singapore band Pension State.

and how true that is.

Meg-a-roni said...

I read a newspaper article that gave a survey statistic that said that the majority of older people, if they could do one thing differently in their life, it would be to take more risks. I try to live my life to the fullest, by not living a life of routine/bordem, but taking time to look around at the beautiful world God created. that's why I think it's so important to travel and experience different cultures.

Anonymous said...

"what are you going to do with this gift of life in the spring of it? because when winter arrives, and it will, hopefully you have spent your days wisely and have very few regrets"

i don't regret much

one regret i have...emailing you

and in an hour i'll most likely regret saying so

Amy said...

"i realized that we are all going to get old."
i'm terrified of growing old. i feel like my life is already half over, & i'm only 15. i feel like if i died now, no one would really remember me, because i've never made a difference. i've never really stood out, or been important.

i want to be noticed before i die, & i don't think it's going to happen.

Jane said...

this is a great post. life is but a breathe. you should post that picture. the more you talked about it, the more curious I was to see it.
I just found your blog today and have been reading though some of it, and I think it's really great...thought provokeing, real, down to earth....not some cheesey band promo site. very cool.
-Jane