So I've spent the past few weeks having a minor freak-out here. Somehow my perception of time and how it passes has changed. It was gradual, a sneak up on Nancy thing. One day I'm living my life as an artist, horse-woman, storyteller , wife and Mom and the next my skin has melted and slid down my front (and back side too, mores the pity). I'm hitting scary big numbers on my whirling past birthdays, and my friends are making graceful or not so graceful exits from this world. The Grandma part I like except for the fact I never get to see my Grandchildren, but that's another story.
I saw this article in The Atlantic today about living a life so long you would, basically, become immortal. It's pretty obvious this would be available to the 'Haves' (as opposed to the 'Have Nots) only. There's no doubt in my mind that us ordinary, everyday people would just have to lump it and die somewhere between 60 and 100. But let's set that aside for the moment and think about how we would structure our days if we did have, just to round it off, five thousand years to live. How would I look at my present relationships, daily goals as well as five or fifty or five hundred years later goals.
Let's take money out of the equation. What you need is there when it's time to use it. You have a nice, safe place to live that suits your present needs and likes. (For me right here will do providing I can use some of that unlimited $$ to replace a few things and own the land.) If you want to go back to school to learn something new, acquire a skill technical or otherwise, the doors are open and in you can walk. How would I spend my time?
I spent some sleepless nights worrying about things I can only philosophize about. I made lists, tossed and turned, worked myself up until I had a headache and I never get headaches! What was so different when I compared today to ten or twenty or thirty years ago? Time. That was the only factor I could find that made things feel odd to me.
I do have more than the usual set of worries. There's nothing there for me to retire on. I don't own land or a house. No one will hire someone in my age category, at least around here. We live in a youth saturated area full of well educated, eager college students and graduates. And I am so very mid twentieth century. My skill sets are not in the usual or average. I'm an artist, parent and grandparent who willingly set aside career goals for family, a tree hugging, animal person who rescues wayward souls. I have a college education that, again, is so mid twentieth century it's laughable. I can paint and draw, write a good story and design the ever loving heck out of a home or garden in an economy and state of do-it-yourselfers. Throw in just enough computer skills to barely keep up and there you have me in a nut shell.
But back to our existential musings on 5000 years. What would I do? Paint more, sculpt more, write and dance. I would buy the equipment I need to ride and find my instructors to take me to a higher level. I would travel all over the world, staying for years in new locations. In between I would take on the care and love of yet more dogs and cats, horses and donkeys, and teach while I stayed in one place. And then when those circles were completed I would travel more and climb mountains, sail the seas, be more vigilant in the pursuit of caring for the environment.
I would be there for the lives of my grandchildren and their grandchildren, going to school plays and swimming lessons, piano recitals and picnics. I would fly to the moon and back, circling so I could see the Earth from the point of view of space. And I would find new friends in every country and learn from them about their lives, cultures and languages. I would do my best to be a better writer and storyteller, focusing on language and how to paint eloquently with beautifully shaped sentences and paragraphs.
For a while I might be an MD, would acquire PHD's in architecture, philosophy, archeology and field biology. And I would always come back here because the passing seasons would, I think, continue to fascinate me all the way through to the end of my five thousand years. Would the same wild flowers emerge in the Spring and birds come back to nest? What old paths would disappear and new ones show up? And maybe I would compare those changes to someplace in the Himalayas or the shore line along the Thames. So many dreams and so much luscious time to achieve them and all of it fiction. And there's the rub. Ah me.
Back to reality. It's pretty obvious when you read this post that dreaming big isn't hard for me, it's having the drive and confidence to reach ... and time ... that will keep me from those five hundred year goals. I can't imagine getting bored. There are so many things to 'taste', from my point of view, that I could see five thousand years as too short. Still there are limits and I have to find some way to work with them.
My first step to restructuring my time was to take social media platforms out of my life except as a way to publish this and, when I think I've changed my habits to suit the list of things I've written down in my journal, spend only a few minutes to say 'Howdy!' and move on. I am, after all, a creature of the past century who needs more hands on and less screen time. And definitely no more politics. It's nasty. Politics brings out the dirty underbelly of the world and I want very little to do with it . It wears me out and makes me cry. I've had plenty of other reasons in my life for that without faceless voices in the ether taking me places I'd rather not be.
I'll check in here more often and leave the gossip and bickering to others more suited for it. I'm off to play with horses, set up the gardens and to make the changes I can without crying about the things I don't have time to deal with.
I am, ever yours, Nancy, musing on the river of time rushing by, wading in the shallows, smiling