Time February 15, 2012Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Blogging, Family, Friends, Love, Memories, Parenting/Children, Relationships, Writing.
Time is a funny thing.
No, I don’t mean “time is hilarious.” Time is… peculiar.
This morning, as I was getting dressed, I looked at my forearm as it emerged from my sleeve and thought, “That looks like the forearm of an old man.” At 50, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me to have revelations like this, but it honestly surprised me. I stared at my arm blankly for a minute, thinking of the inevitability of the aging process, and the peculiar manifestation of it in the texture of that region of skin.
Ten years ago, in 2002, I was not yet writing this blog. My mom had passed away in 2000, but my dad was alive and living with my sister in Georgia. I think Mom’s passing was one of the milestones that caused me to look in the mirror and say, “You’re on your own now. You can’t go running to Mom anymore for advice about how to live your life.”
The truth is, I really had leaned on Mom for advice over the years. Most of what I know (or think I know) about parenting, came straight from Mom. (The rest of it came from watching Mom and Dad. Dad wasn’t particularly verbal about parenting issues, at least with me, until the last five or six months of his life.) In contrast, Dad was someone who I saw as a “meaning of life” counsellor. Back in 2002, I didn’t lean on him for that kind of advice nearly as much as I should have.
Now, as I look in the mirror, I see more of Dad in the various aging signs of my body. I see Crow’s Feet and age spots that resemble his, and occasionally telltale signs like the aforementioned wrinkles in the skin of my forearm. I also see signs of stress, the loss of naiveté’, thousands of lessons learned, and more than a few sleepless nights.
Five years ago, in 2007, I had just started blogging, perhaps out of feeling a sense of mortality. What drove me to do so? Was it the arrogance of thinking that I possessed some collection of wisdom or truth that had somehow escaped others?
Actually, I think it was a realization that I wished I had listened more to things that Dad had said (or wanted to say), but that I had never taken the time to hear. I felt the need to capture, if for nobody else than my sons, some of the things that I always wanted to discuss with my Mom and Dad. I wanted to put down, in as permanent a form as possible, stories and lessons, observations and ideas, and all manner of things that I felt my sons might one day want to read. I wanted to answer, in advance, some of the questions that they might wish they’d asked, at some future date when I might not be there (or might not be able) to answer.
In the (generally forgettable) “I, Robot” with Will Smith, there is an interesting scene where Spooner (Will Smith) holds a conversation with Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell). The device Spooner uses to carry on this conversation projects a hologram of Lanning, and can respond interactively in Lanning’s voice and with his gestures, but only with the relatively limited information that Lanning programmed in.
It occurred to me a few years ago that this is what this blog is. This blog is a device for communicating, to those who would ask, the various things I thought about and felt strongly enough about to capture within a post here.
To be sure, a blog like this is a redacted version of my thoughts and feelings. This may capture the “text of my life,” but it quite obviously doesn’t state the subtext. I suppose one could argue that, with this blog in-hand and a decent knowledge of my life, you could figure out much of the subtext.
Along the way, I met some new people (other bloggers), found an audience (on occasion), and have compiled enough of my thoughts here to fill a book or two. (At least one book, “Don’t Blink,” a compilation of parenting tips and advice, will result from this.)
Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve also lost several friends (including a fellow blogger or two). Where possible, I’ve gone back to read their Facebook pages, or their blogs. Sometimes, it’s not possible to read my friends’ thoughts anymore. My hope is that anyone whose life I’ve touched will be able to, if they choose, retroactively hear from me. This form of communication isn’t immortality, but it remains a way for express and demonstrate my love long after my passing.
You see, communication is what takes us from singular, isolated beings and makes us part of something larger than ourselves. When we choose to not communicate, and intentionally isolate or hide our thoughts and feelings from others, we become less. To be certain, we are safer, and not at risk of the pain when we withdraw and exclude. We also lose our ability to love and be loved.
My passing may bring an end to my ability to receive love, but why should it bring an end to me expressing it?