A second, a minute, an hour, a day. We measure time precisely and we treat it so casually. We carry it on our wrists; place it on nightstands where it serenades us to sleep, rouses us awake. Sometimes we hang it on the wall where its incessant ticking can drive us coo coo. Time is a twinkling of an eye; a tick and a tock; a refreshing pause, and it goes on inexorably with the seconds, minutes, hours, days turning into weeks, months and years, and eventually into periods, eras, eons, cycles, decades, centuries and epochs.
Sometimes we try to hurry it along by anticipating events: “I can’t wait until next Saturday when we go to the beach;” or “I wish spring would come so we could plant flowers.” In a sense we are actually wishing our days on earth are shortened by wanting time to fly by.
These thoughts came to mind when a friend forwarded a website to me.
“It will give you a jolt,” she said. And it did.
By typing in the year, month, and day of your birth it calculated how many days you have been alive. The day I tried it out I was 27,991 days old. 920 months spread out over 19 leap years.
There they are sprawled out behind me like so many buoys bobbing on the vast ocean of my life. 27,991 days that tell my story and I can’t even remember the day I even became aware that I had a story. I cannot begin to separate the good days from the bad days – those days that fall into the classification of “a day I should have stayed in bed.”
What’s more, I cannot account for most of them. Can you count the granules in a cup of sugar? The days take on their own arithmetic pattern – dividing and multiplying, branching out into stories that encompass births, graduations, marriages, mortgages, triumphs, failures, achievements, disappointments, and of course, deaths.
I cannot remember much before first grade. I vaguely remember a funeral wake taking place in our home. My dead grandfather was laid out in our living room. I was too young to be traumatized by it but to this day I cannot stand the smell of lilies.
I know many of the days were spent waiting and wishing for something to happen. Waiting to be old enough to be taken seriously; waiting to escape the confines of home and school, wishing I lived in a more glamorous place, wanting a warmer climate. Of course all of those things happened without me realizing I was trading one kind of confinement for another.
I am sure many of the days were monotonous, though selective memory permits me to wipe those away and remember the momentous ones. None of the more significant days involves things, but all of them involve people who were part of my story. The longest segment of my story consists of almost 17,000 days with one woman until her story ended more than three thousand days ago. And yet, even that tragic day has been moderated by the ensuing 72,000 hours that have transported me into a new life with a new beginning, a reinvention of self, a greater appreciation of all that I have, a firm commitment to look ahead and not count the days; but rather live them one at a time and enjoy each second of each minute or each hour of each day.
To learn your age in days go to: http://www.korn19.ch/coding/days.php