I recently had the privilege of meeting a new friend who explained to me that “Life is Long.” I didn’t quite understand this meaning when they first told me, as I had always heard the saying “Life is Short.” In this day and age of reality T.V. and things happening so instantaneously, it seems completely foreign to think of anything being long. Nothing seems to last. Even though there are days that seem to last forever when we are able to remove ourselves, either by proximity or time, we see how quickly life can pass us by.
But the more I have thought of this, the more I can see the point. Life is long: take a deep breath and savor the moment. Don’t be in such a rush.
I know as I cared for Jim, the kids, the house, my career, and all the unexpected thrown at us, I always felt as if life was not only happening at a break neck speed, but I was having to be ready at all times for anything and everything. There was no slowing down and definitely no savoring of any moments.
Although the friend that shared these words of wisdom has come and gone, as people often do, the words have stuck. I do believe that people come in and out as we need them, sometimes just to share a simple sentence. Sometimes to buoy us until we can tread on our own and sometimes, when they are capable and we are receiving, they stick around for a while.
Whether life is long or short depends on our outlook. I feel as if life is short. My time with Jim was short. When I compare our time to my parents, who celebrated 53 years of marriage earlier this year, our time was way too short. Some marriages don’t make it past a year. In that case, the almost 20 years I shared with Jim would seem a long time. Perspective. It changes everything.
So now I need to change my perspective. It is a battle I face within me everyday. Being grateful for the time and not bitter about the lack of. Shouldn’t I be happy we had the good years? Of course. But at the same time it is difficult to not regret all the “could have’s” and “should have’s.” The plans Jim and I had. The dreams of a life we were going to share. Instead, I must force myself to focus on the life we did live. A good one. But one I alone share a memory of. No one who can vouch for the adventures and conversations or the reminiscences of things I can no longer recall.
Yes, life can be short, or it can be long. Depending on how you want to view it.
Personally, I want to be satisfied with what Jim and I had. I want to be happy I had a wonderful husband and I was able to care for him and I am the one left to share life with our children. Easier said than done. Guilt and regrets and a type A personality doesn’t let everything sit easily with me. I have the attitude of Life is Short. Cram in the travel. Cram in the conversations. Cram in the hopes and dreams and the love and the memories and just cram it all in as quickly as you can because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. I know what it can bring. But in all likelihood, it won’t bring a good-bye. It will bring you another chance to savor the day, the moment, the memories, the conversations and the presence of those you care for.