Tuesday, August 12, 2009
Well, the wedding is over and the newlywed couple is honeymooning on the Mexican Riviera. Everyone can relax and get back to a measure of normalcy in their lives. It all came off very nice and without any serious hitches, probably the result of all the good planning and preparation -- most of it by the newlywed couple themselves. Congratulations Justin and Kaytlyn!
I find time fascinating. One of the reasons I like history is the element of time and the relationships between time and people. So when milestone events like weddings happen, I tend to think about time as it relates to those same milestones in my life and the lives of those around me.
Every living thing on the planet has a beginning and an end. It's the cycle of life, the way it's always been and the way it always will be. Even our planet has a beginning and an end. The solar system began as swirling gases that coalesced into clumps, and those clumps, eventually, into the sun and planets and moons. Scientist tell us that in the far distant future the sun will run low of hydrogen fuel and dim... cool... die... taking the rest of the solar system with it. It's the cycle of life.
We're "sponges" as we grow out of infancy into childhood, soaking up the wonder of the world around us, experiences, and knowledge. We "exist" and look for meaning and purpose. Some grasp the concept of delayed gratification -- the long term -- and others live in the moment -- the short term. Some understand that we're really a part of a society of many people and that the prime imperative is the continuation and advancement of that society, while others live primarily for themselves. We develop skills and abilities and make our way through time. Many of us meet a soul-mate and we often have children -- children that will eventually take our place. We nurture those children, try to guide them, and give them what we can so they understand and absorb the prime imperative to continue and advance the society. Eventually, as minds and bodies mature, they're ready. And the cycle continues.
During the wedding ceremony I was thinking back to 1972, the same month -- August, and how I felt. We were in many ways still kids -- I was only 21 when Dar and I married. From the perspective of a 21 year old, you're only about 25% into your expected lifespan -- with 75% of your life still in the future. 75% is perceived as an immense about of time -- enough time that there's little thought about the end. There was so much to do, so many hopes, opportunities, and dreams that for all intents and purposes we felt almost immortal. The definition of our purpose and meaning was in the future. And things couldn't happen fast enough. Time seemed to crawl.
But from the perspective of a 57 year old things are different. There's still wonder... but it's wonder about how fast those middle years went. Time, which crawled slowly along during youth, is now not just going fast... it's accelerating. We've successfully replaced ourselves with two very special people, who have each found their own soul-mates. And the cycle continues.
And we have two grandkids. There will likely be more. We thoroughly enjoy the time we spend with little Ryan and Evan, and we hope that we're giving back to them just some of the joy that we get from them. In the past three years we've seen such growth in Ryan, and have watched Evan change from newborn to a little person that can interact with others around him. It's easy, from my perspective, to project into the future and "see" them going to school, as teens, as young adults... and the cycle continues.
Our children are now completely adults. Our job is officially over. Our biological purpose complete. This marriage marked the end of a big chapter in our lives. Where do we go from here?
The cycle will continue.