In 1996, the musical Rent torpedoed onto the Great White Way. I was curly haired, buck-toothed, and four. In 1999, I first heard "Seasons of Love" and having nothing more than those lyrics as my guide, I was posed with a new sort of question: How do you measure your life?
When you're seven years old, life is between snack and bath time. Everything else merely leads up to it. School is the time for foraging enough stories to get you through snack time and propel you onward because, really, anything else that happens is quickly forgotten by morning. Time is infinite snippets of nothingness. That is to say, time only matters when the cookies are still in the oven- or your mom is coming to pick you up from your friend's house in five minutes.
But suddenly time begins to matter: Deadlines, years, moments. We are plagued by the idea that it all fades away. I don't know of it's possible to place that instant when we realize we'll never regain the ones before it but it happens. Once that tick-tock finds its way into your throat, the clock doesn't stop. It only gets louder for the breaths we waste.
On top of life's burdens, we give ourselves further time-frames. We want things the instant we want them. Add in technology and we are made of immediacy and ice cream (the ice cream for the movie streaming...go with me, here). But what happens when it melts (ah, yes, there's that pesky ice cream again)?
Time does melt. Like the icecaps and the grilled cheese and (yes) the ice cream: All down you arms, onto new pants (bought for a job interview, I bet) and eventually, there is no ice cream. Just an empty cone. And so, perhaps, you think: "I'll get a cup next time. And freeze it."
The funny thing about frozen soup-ice cream is that it never regains its consistency. We've only got this minute.
So, to spend time with a person- or on a project- or even on yourself, implies that whatever your time is being spent on must be vital in some way.
This is a very roundabout way of marveling at the time we've spent together.
As I get older, I'm realizing that time isn't only malleable but manipulative. It makes for change. But helps growth. The person I was this time last year isn't the person I am today.
I think I'm proud of that progression. And I realize it does no good to dwell on what may have happened if even one moment was different. Still, there are days when, I can assure you, it would be nice for things to work a little differently. That's when the typical cliches come into play: "Everything happens for a reason."
I'm learning to hold my tongue: Ask less about reasons (now: past tense) and consider motives (now: present). I want to fill mason jars with motivation, for 7AMs when I don't want to rise. Or as gifts, for the things I need that I can't do myself.
Time might be for delegating. Or observance. But I think I'm beginning to appreciate time as proof. Proof of affection, proof of progress, proof of desire. In the time it took to build Rome, we could have plotted thousands of olive branches but those things aren't equivalent. It takes branches time to bloom. And years for homes to be built. I'm still learning that I can't build home from humans. But I can hope.
Hope comes with time.
This is Me:
My name's Melissa. I'm the girl with her hands in her journal.