Things I’ve Learned In The Year We Bid Goodbye To

By | January 4, 2015

(Originally published as a column on December 26th, 2014 in the AM News)

It’s always a good thing, to draw the line and sum it all up; good and bad, all that was thrown our way to learn from.

You’re never done learning, that much I know and there is a subtle irony that hides behind every ‘I know enough’ that comes out of hiding as soon as you utter the very words. Some sort of a divine punishment if you will, an extra measure of humbling which we all benefit from.

December came to us with the said measure and more, as the main drain pipe in our house broke open and thus created a different kind of hot springs right in our basement. Not only that, the entire mouse population seemed to take shelter from the cold weather right in the house.

We sailed through some challenging weeks of no toilet close by, no shower or laundry on the premises with as much dignity as we could muster. Mouse traps kept on doing their thing while we pondered upon the simple things that were out of each at that time, such as a running toilet need. Too easy to forget and too unfair to do so, given the continual reliance on it.

As the month ended we took off to the coast to spend Christmas with family and friends, not before stopping for a few days on one of the Southern Gulf islands where we left time at the ferry terminal and all we took with us to the small cabin tucked in the woods was a collection of snuggles and lazy mornings to use as we saw fit.

It reminded me of what’s truly precious: time with our loved ones. It’s easy to forget, because life tumbles fast over our heads and spins thoughts into a mound of worries and milestones and things to do that becomes hard to manage and a time thief of its own kind that prevents us from noticing simple joy.

I was reminded of this most precious gift of time and love as my father passed away this summer, after a long suffering that lasted eight years. Memories of my parents – both passed away now – abounded in the last months and pushed me more towards witnessing my own boys’ journey through life, not letting a day go by without acknowledging the wonder of it all.

My oldest is saying goodbye to childhood and entering teenagehood. There is much to see and know about the world for him, and as for me, this is yet another opportunity to witness all of that alongside him and his younger brother, who is becoming an older child.

I was there for all the steps that take a child from reading out letter after letter to reading sentences and then books. It still charms me to see him curled on the sofa with a book much bigger for his hands to hold but not big enough for his mind to open up to…

We discuss matters of large worldly importance and the oscillation between acting all grown up and still clinging to being a young child is not in the least annoying though it is puzzling. I’ve learned to see all of that with a mind that understands the inexorability of time.

If I can think of one think that this year has taught me that would be that it all goes away in a blink. That time and the consequences of our actions, in how we spend our time, in how we earn and spend our money, in how we give and receive – everything from love to time to a listening ear when needed, it all happens in a blink.

This year I’ve learned to never take things or people for granted. You could say I added it to my previous belief that I shouldn’t. But life has it in such a way that we forget.

Nothing is as permanent as we want it to be. Nothing stays the same, but evolves, and often not in ways that are predictable or that fit with our plans. Life doesn’t wait, and if you’ve come to see it once, you may forget but you will be easier reminded of it all once you stop for a moment to observe life’s tumbles.

May that we all do in the year to come, may that we all come to know that what matters is what we have the least of nowadays, and that is time with those who fill our hearts with joy, and a world that we can breathe and exist without fear of skies darkened by our own reckless actions.

May we be aware that we will have, once again, 365 chances to make it count, and we have the power to choose to make it so. Happy New Year!

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