Do you have a month particularly punctuated by significant dates? We are currently passing through my month, September. Many family anniversaries, both current and no longer marked – a couple of my cousins, my brother’s and my sister’s, my parent’s and my own. Birthdays too, though all of these are marked in memory only – my grandparent’s on my dad’s side and my mom. Having so many dates with meaning can’t help but lead to a bit of reflection and nostalgia.
A date on a calendar comes up and when it marks a certain event, the passage of time becomes clearer than it normally is. This date became significant in 1938, that one in 1959, 1986, 1997, 2001… it can’t be possible that the calendar has turned so many times, and yet it has. And the number of times that we have celebrated the anniversary of each event has grown while we were just busy making a life.
I know people who are deliberate in their decisions and planning and I know people who never seem to be prepared for any of the things that occur in their life. And I know all sorts of people in between these types. But for all of us, life seems to have a haphazard aspect. If there is anyone out there who has done exactly what they expected to do every step of their life, I certainly would like to meet them. I know that we are all supposed to have 5 year, 10 year and life plans so that we can check our progress and recognize our successes when they happen. But, really.
Life brings choices and pivotal moments disguised as everyday activities. We can rail against the haphazard nature, we can take action to direct our own fate as much as possible, we can accept the parts that are out of our control. Or plenty of other variations.
Sometimes those ‘if only’ thoughts come along to taunt – think where you would be if only you had made this choice or done that thing, if you hadn’t been afraid to try something new, if you hadn’t splurged when you should have saved. But I didn’t. And through the course that I have taken, I have managed to learn, to experience and continue growing.
My mom was born on this date 77 years ago and I have marked it now 11 times without her. I can smile as the past scrolls out in my mind – the ways that we celebrated – and I can think about all of the ways that she is still with me.
We can turn the calendar and spend a few moments on a significant date and remember what was and wonder at what is and decide what should be.
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