28 April 2012

Our Endless Numbered Days

I’ve felt for a while now that the beginning of the New Year, happening in the midst of the winter season, seems a bit out of place. I don’t suppose I really thought of its odd timing prior to working for a year at a Hebrew day school in Tucson. I enjoyed learning about those ancient, but new-to-me, holidays and rituals as part of my job there. And of course, one of those holidays was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, which falls in mid- to late September, just as the desert finally begins to cool off, the long, hot summer finally drawing to a close. The director of the school mentioned that the timing of the new Judaic year’s beginning, right at the change of season, always felt more natural to him than the Gregorian calendar.

But regardless of when the new year begins, the fact remains that we continue to cross our endless numbered days off the calendar. Even those days which seem too dull and unmemorable to amount to much count against our time, unfortunately.

I hadn’t been thinking of the urgency of our lives as of late, I suppose because I’ve been too busy doing other things, just as I’d expect you’ve been too.

But this weekend I saw a friend from high school – someone I doubt I’ve seen since graduation night. I didn’t expect to see him; he happened to be at the same event as me, so there was that element of surprise. And of course, it was nice to catch up, brief as it was. He’d recently lost his mother to that most destructive of diseases, Alzheimer’s. Our conversation reminded me of the urgency of, and the limitations of our lives here together, in part because of his loss, but also because of the time that had passed since our last chat, some two and a half decades prior.

It just so happened that the day before, another friend, also from many years ago, posted a photo of a temporary tattoo she received from author, NPR contributor and personal hero of mine, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who was visiting the school where my friend works. The tattoo reads: Make the most of your time here.

I can’t help but believe that this is a message for me to both receive and to share. To make a little extra effort, each day at least, to savor a moment, to establish a connection, to create a memory: to make the most of our time here.

So what are you waiting for?

Carpe diem

1 comment:

  1. c, lovely reminder post (i am going to make sure you get a stack of tattoos this summer!). i would love it if we all had one exact moment each day where we stopped and did some sort of self-check--"am in making the most of my time today?" this post also reminds me of the oh-so-wise Mary Oliver's words: "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" And now the whole concept has me tearing up. thanks for sharing.