Getting older doesn't feel like getting older. Still, staying young doesn't feel quite right. Another birthday recently walked through the door to celebrate one more year of life and then departed as quickly, along with many of its memories formed in what once was a brand new year; full of opportunities and optimism. The concept of aging is and always has been interesting. Typically, its assumed that with increased age comes wisdom and insight, along with wonderful wooly house shoes and overly large spectacles. On the other hand, getting older has invariably carried the assumption that with age comes a lack of relevancy and usefulness; to society; to others; and even to one's own-self. Seconds seem to speed up rapidly into days and days into years. Where has the time gone? Life feels shorter than it used to. And it's true that is the norm, but it still doesn't feel normal to look back and wonder where all of those tiny measurements of time went.
"Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity for the days are evil."
The notion of approaching life prudently nearly seems to be a forgotten memory of days gone by in today's ‘progressive’ world. In fact, being someone that fully embraces a life lived in the ephemeral is what is given raucous praise. It could be inferred from this verse that making the most of every opportunity means to say, "live fully in the now! Suck in the joy of life with every inhale and let it float with each exhale." But as I've repeatedly passed over it, those words have never quite glimmered that way in my eyes. It's true though, the days are evil, and time is a thief. It steals memories, traditions, relationships, and ideas. Time is one thing that continually slips through my fingers, like sand. Simultaneously I hold it, yet don't. It's a cloud I see but can never touch. It's the memory of skipping kindergarten valentine's day celebrations in exchange for first films and cross-country road trips with a father or tears spilled in an airport terminal over the sudden loss of a mother.
Although old to a few and still quite young to many others, this verse rings between my ears as a sort of reminder — like church bells at the passing of an hour or the call to prayer at sunrise — to consider the unfolding events of life as a treasure not to be buried. My familiarity with aging is perhaps consequently equal to the time I’ve spent participating in it. However, I aspire to live intentionally and without compromise.
Recently, a relative whom I greatly admire and respect, for much more than his accomplishments, experiences, or love, told me that one of the things he wished he would have done is documented life's small and seemingly insignificant days. The times where normal life takes on its 'boring,' usual predictable shape and form. Perhaps, this is a facet of both growing older and learning from those who’ve walked this path before; finding joy in life’s worn path and being intentional with its often overwhelming banality.
The images showcased below were made on my 28th birthday in Brighton, England. Although they are touristic in nature, there is a theme of growth and life’s journey threaded between them.