The Measure

We have a measure of time that we beat to. When young, hearts pump faster to support hyperkinetic growth of the body. As we age, the metronome slows down, leaving us wondering where that tireless drummer went.

That tick-tock drives our subjective experience of time. It slows when we’re ramped up. It drags. Things never seem to end. But they do.

Then suddenly you notice it’s rushing by, the years smearing together and you become physically aware in your gut that you’re looking back over more than you’re looking forward to.

Unknowable is the fraction that is left, but I recently began to wonder when I passed half. Was it yesterday or decades ago? Has so-and-so’s laughter now really been gone longer than they were alive? When did they start playing bands softly in the background at the grocery store that I saw in loud concerts as a kid?

For the thousands of futures I tried on and discarded as a youth over the years, I try to live a new one each day. Unbounded by the silly ideas of what the broader future would be today of back then, a fuzzy future is the best gift I can give myself. It frees me from the sirens of the past that threaten to founder me in thought and feeling.

I can do anything. I can become the person I decide to be. Today. Now. Every moment that I’m paying attention is another opportunity to choose to listen to the present and to a future.

Some symphonies will remain unfinished, but their power is undiminished by lacking a coda. Our measures are wont to end mid-beat, so carefully work on each note because you never know when you’ll skip your final one.

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