I've been thinking a lot lately about the transitory nature of the time we get here on this ball of rock.
I spend a great deal of my time these days among people who are elderly, ill, or just fragile, and have seen others decline into a shaky state of frailty in just the short time I've known them, sliding from hale and healthy into wraithlike shadows of themselves almost in an eyeblink.
I've also just fledged a child out into the perilous realm of adulthood, watching her undergo all the rites of passage I was just experiencing yesterday. I swear it was just yesterday.
It's humbling and frustrating and melancholy and awakens in me an envy I barely understand. I'm humbled at the weight of time and infirmity and the forced acknowledgement of my own and others' mortality. I am frustrated that I have wasted - to my mind - a huge portion of the finite amount of time I get here on dithering and fiddling and fidgeting and have never gotten any further than here, than this. I am desperate and melancholy as I watch all these passages around me, unable to stop the inexorable slippery drift toward change, toward different, toward gone.
And I envy that girl, that beautiful, headstrong, brave girl who has just opened her eyes on a new life. I envy her freedom, her unmarked slate. I envy her choices. I envy all of her as-yet-unrealized dreams, even as I beam in the knowledge that it was partly my scratching, clawing fight against the smothering weights of poverty and entropy and depression that got her to a place from which she could leap. I am gleefully aware that I wouldn't let her quit, that I refused to let her drop a single dream, that I flatly rejected the idea that because she came from poverty she wouldn't have the same chances as anyone else. I can congratulate myself for that, even as I suffer in the knowledge that my chances are passing.
And I can accept that there are things I cannot control - movement, change, the hurtling path of this ball of rock through the cosmos. I can accept almost everything that has changed, everything that has moved.
But I cannot bring myself to like the fact that things have to change at all.