The Time is Ripe

The Time is Ripe

Recently, a confluence of arbitrary moments and observations have led me to ruminating on time and the phenomenon of aging. First, I was struck by the beauty of the tulips I had bought for myself as they bent their pink heads towards the earth from whence they came. They’re dying, I thought to myself, and how lovely they are in their maturing; how graceful is the arc of their slim necks, their softening colour, their humble postures. Then, I happened across a flick called Long Story Short about a man who loses a year each time he falls asleep or when his attention drifts. While friends and family live the other 364 days, he continually plays catch-up as life literally passes him by. The lesson? Don’t waste our most precious commodity: time.
I’ve never had an easy relationship with time. Too often I’ve wasted it, undervalued it by looking and looking and looking before I leap into ideas and possibilities. I’ve held on to relationships, jobs, and outdated narratives for too long. I’ve wanted to learn more, research more, prepare more before daring to make a move, then I’d regret dragging my feet and feel “too old to do that.” Was it anxiety or prudence?Calculated or unconscious? Either way, these days I’m less inclined to put up with my own self-censoring and more inclined to seize the day.
In a world that encourages us to “fight” growing old in an “anti-aging” culture, we take for granted how fortunate we are to simply keep on living. As joints snap-crackle-pop and crows feet deepen, as we grey and groan about time’s passing, we forget that we’re bloody lucky to even be here! Many of us criticize every up-tick on the scale and yearn for bygone, muffin-top-free days. Worse, we put off our dreams or neglect to tell the ones we love how we feel because, well, we’ll do it tomorrow… Instead, we should be grateful to be alive, and actively partnering with precious time.
My perspective on time and aging has changed as I’ve gained more wisdom and the confidence to grab the reins of my own life – to not let things happen but to make things happen. One of the reasons I’ve been studying fitness and nutrition for peri- and post-menopausal women is to ensure I am more capable of exploiting and enjoying this exciting time of life. As I as I near my 55th birthday on May 10, I feel both more content with what I have and who I am, and more empowered to DO. I want to challenge myself physically and intellectually, to keep myself emotionally healthy, to be creative and bold. I have reached an age when I can accept and embrace my imperfections even as I seek to improve and enjoy my life.
I have lost two very dear friends to cancer. They left families behind and too many sweet experiences on the table. My heart aches for them and whenever I remember them – which is frequently – or scroll by the photo I have of the two of them sitting on the stairs to my basement at my surprise 16th birthday brunch, I say to myself: Cherish every day. Look for the wonder in every passing year and make the most of the time you are given. If I come to end of my days without having attempted a task that was within reach, without smiling or laughing enough, without daring or staying present and awake, I will have dishonoured my friends and have no one to blame but myself.
On your mat, those deep, sweet, attentive breaths increase the distance between thoughts and expand your awareness of the present. Practice sweetens your experience off the mat, feeds your life force, and directs you to what means most to you. Upon waking and sleeping, repeat with me this gratitude mantra: I am thankful to be here; I will celebrate and make the most of the moments I am given.
YOLO, no FOMO!Cynthia


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