Currently, I am sitting at my crisp white desk with all my green lush plants surrounding me. My iced coffee scented candle is flickering as my air conditioning blows through my bedroom. I have everything I need to enter the flow state of work, which happens often when I am designing, yet my mind keeps wandering and floating off on other things. So this is when I write…
My thoughts are most of the time a huge cloud of confusion and wonder and love, but today and for the past few weeks my thoughts have been solely drawn back to the topic of time. I am not talking time in terms of when I wake up and go to sleep, I mean in terms of the timing of our lives. You’re going to have to dive deep with me in this chapter. It is not always a fun thing to think about our lives and how they start and end, but it is inevitable.
This topic really rose to the surface for me when all of my grandparents passed away within a matter of a couple of years. I never truly understood death, it scares me, makes me want to curl up in a ball and pretend that it doesn’t exist. I had a major reality check when I suddenly realized I will never be able to hear my grandma’s sweet voice over the phone and in person, I will never be able to feel the softness of her weathered skin again, her blue eyeshadow and musty perfume… all of it, it is just gone now. I did not know how much I would miss my other grandma’s constant interest in my sister and I’s friendship and love life. She dug for some type of gossip to be spoken about. But her interest in our lives was unmeasurable. One of the hardest things in life is to accept that the sweet memories are just memories now. As the years go by I start to forget how their voices sounded, how their hugs felt and how easy it was to visit them. It is one of the most difficult and hardest things to wrap my head around.
Now I know it was hard for all of us grandkids to witness death at a young age. It sort of changes your perspective on life in general. But, seeing my parents have to go through it almost was harder than the situation itself. Now, both my Mom and Dad are extremely strong. I still have yet to see a tear fall from my father’s eyes and my mother’s love for everyone shined so bright through her tears. I still remember the feeling of when I saw a call coming from my Mom and the sudden drop in my heart because I knew the news she was about to put upon me. Her voice shakey, my hands shakey and the spoken fact that they have passed. But in those situations, there’s nothing you can do besides accept, grieve, and love one another.
Every single morning I wake up with a text from my father. It is either a “Hi” or a “Good morning” or even a “Have a great day!” Those quick messages back and forth did not mean as much as they mean now to me. After seeing how quickly our lives go by, I have taken on the approach of being present, grateful and aware of all those who have meaning in my life. I find that many young adults in their 20’s have this sort of realization that life is finite. It is a very scary slap in the face, but I think it is necessary and I believe that the universe wants this to be the cycle of life. Let me explain…
We all are born and introduced to the world in whichever era is existing at the time. For most of you reading, I assume you were born into the millennial era with baby boomer parents. As we grow up we adapt to the times we live in. We make friends along the way. Figure out what skills we are best at. Lose friends along the way. Struggle with learning who we are as individuals. Get a car. Engage in sports. Go to college. Meet our first love. Teach our parents about technology and help them adapt to new advances in life. Graduate college. Enter life and take on opportunities. Find your true self. Experience the loss of family. Watch parents grow older. Have babies with your love. Notice all the qualities you have gained from your parents raising you. Share those qualities with your kids. Watch your parents become grandparents. Watch them experience a rush of youth again. And I think you can guess the rest. This, in my opinion, is the cycle of life. Not in any particular order, but every human in this universe experiences parts of this cycle and each of us in very different ways.
Anyway, my point with saying all this is that, this is a BEAUTIFUL cycle. We learn we grow, we gain, and sometimes we have to lose to learn more. The biggest thing I have come to realize is that once you can accept this is when you can live in the present and when you start to recognize all of the things you are grateful for within your family. Ever since I stepped back and told myself I will not have this moment again, is when more memories begin to be placed in a file cabinet in my brain. Personally, I want that cabinet to be full of love, wisdom, experiences and so much more!
I turned 25 last month and a sudden fast forward reel of my life was played in my head. I saw myself spending the next 4 years making more memories with my family, meeting more friends, traveling to many places, buying a home, getting a pet all in the span of those years. Because before you know it at the age of 29 I could be having a baby. But who knows… this is all hypothetical. But suddenly the memories become less about my family and me and more about our children. So, all of this, like I said is hard to accept sometimes. But the biggest piece of advice I can give is live in the present, make as many memories with your parents as you can now. Life is quick and that is ok as long as you know how to live each day with purpose.