Watching the Clock

We don’t start watching the clock until we are about…four.

That’s when we figure out it takes a long, long time for Christmas to arrive.  For our next birthday.  By the time we’re six, we realize school lasts forever and summer comes and goes at lightening speed.  Recess is fleeting.  Daylight hours never last long enough.  The alarm clock goes off too early each morning.  Yet we watch the clock.  Waiting.  Always waiting.  For some future event.  For some point in time yet to come.

We can’t wait for the time when we can date.  Drive a car.  For the time we graduate from high school.  Until we can vote.  Drink…legally.

We are a strange race.  We spend our days watching the clock while the moments we should treasure, the life we should cherish and fully experience, those precious moments tick away, always out of reach.  The seconds slip through our fingers.  And as a result, we never truly live.  We’re always waiting.  For something.  We wait and we forget to live.

Oddly, the things we wait for go by so quickly, we can’t seem to grasp or appreciate them.  They are gone before we even realize they have arrived.  Yet, the things we can’t wait to end, that drag on and on and on forever, those things seem to last beyond eternity.  Beyond our ability to endure.

Sadly, the things we look forward to, those things, we can’t slow them down long enough to appreciate them.  We can’t slow them down enough to wrap our arms around them.  The things we want to last forever are gone before we can even focus on them.

It’s like eating oysters on the half shell.  We swallow whole the things we should savor and as a result, never really taste the precious minutes of our existence.

One day, I was a young girl of 15. The next, there was an old woman looking back at me in the mirror, face lined with wrinkles, limbs tired and mind confused.  That old woman barely resembled me…the me that will forever possess my heart.  For you see, the 15 year-old still lives inside of my sagging body.  Life has happened, one tick of the clock at a time.  The moments are gone forever.  The memories are fading, just as my eyesight fades.  Fear causes me to look away.  To deny. To forget the reflection I saw in the mirror…the reflection that surely can’t be mine.

There comes a point where we are waiting for the inevitable.  That moment we must all experience, but that most of us dread. The moment we slip beyond time. When the breath of life leaves our body.  We want to stop the clock, but we can’t.  The ticking is deafening.

When we are young, we can’t even fathom that this moment will arrive.  And then, we age, time begins to slip away and we can’t fathom the moment not arriving.   We know.  It is only a matter of time.  We watch the clock. We can’t help ourselves.  And then, suddenly, the clock tells us that time is running out.

Still, we can’t stop watching.

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