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Tag Archives: time

I Hate Time Cliches, But They Fit!

I have written previously about my feelings regarding the passage of time. In case you don’t feel like going back and reading, here’s the relevant portion:

Lest you think I’m being melancholy, I’m not . . . though I will admit to occasionally feeling as though time has slipped by far too fast. However, I have a trick I use to deal with that and I’ve been doing it so long I really don’t think about it much any more.

I’m of the opinion the feeling that time has slipped by far too fast is a low-level form of self-pity. That trick I mentioned is something I used to do many years ago when I sensed I was feeling sorry for myself. I would pick a day, perhaps six months or a year ago, and try to recreate all the things I had done or experienced in the intervening time. I never made it to “today” because I always got bored from “reliving” all those things I had already done. Nowadays, I don’t even have to go through the exercise. I only need to remind myself of its efficacy.

I bring this up to explain my feelings (somewhat) when I worked on — and now look at — this collage I made of pictures of me and Aimee, my oldest. I’ve been teaching myself Photoshop and one of the most valuable skills one can master, IMO, is that of layering; and not just using layers, but being able to manipulate pixels through selecting and masking very selectively. While there are plenty of technical issues one must master in order to be able to successfully create multi-layer pictures (in a timely manner), there is most definitely an art to doing it well.

So . . . I’ve been practicing with creating memes and sarcastic photos of the Groper-in-Chief, as well as touching up some personal photos and creating new ones from old ones. Here’s the picture I put together that’s now causing me some consternation:

Aimee and Daddy

Aimee and Daddy

I was most interested in the speed with which I could select and create layer masks for each one of these photos (there are 10 separate pics, plus one barely visible as background). Resizing, aligning them properly, and putting them in the right order is not terribly taxing or time consuming, but selecting and masking requires some patience. This is especially true when you have essential tremors and your hands shake, at times almost uncontrollably. I also experience occasional “jerks”, where my hand just jumps for no specific reason, at least none I can discern.

Now that I finished and posted it — actually, yesterday on Facebook — I’m taking some time to enjoy the photos. They are, after all, some of my favorite pictures of the two of us. It’s important to keep in mind, I was childless until my 56th year; long enough to be pretty convinced I would never be a parent. I was resigned to this fact and content with my situation. Little did I realize I would have a 14-month-old, 25 lb. bundle thrust into my arms halfway around the world in the People’s Republic of China, shortly after my 55th birthday. The story behind how my wife and I decided this would be a good thing to do is a long one, and I have no intention of going into it here.

I have now been a father for 15 years. In addition to adopting Aimee, we returned to the PRC to adopt our younger daughter, Alyssa, when I was 59. I’ll do a collage of me and Alyssa at some other time. I don’t know if I have enough pictures of the two of us; second child syndrome and all like that, but I’ll put together what I’ve got.

What’s bothering me now about this picture is, every time I look at it I’m reminded that she is now a full-blown teenager and, as such, I represent everything wrong, lame, and stupid about the world to her. I know our relationship will never be the same. Actually, I knew it the day we adopted Alyssa, who was a real handful — still is, and that’s not hyperbole in any way. This, however, is somewhat different. I’ve watched enough of my friends’ and family’s children grow up and go through this. It’s not like I’m surprised or taken aback by it. It’s just that experience tells me she may not appreciate me again for another five years or more.

I’m 70 years old and already over a decade older than my father was when he died. I’m healthy, take pretty good care of myself, and expect I’ve got a while to go. However, even if I live into my eighties, we won’t have a great deal of time together. I only got a couple of years to enjoy the relationship my father and I started building in my mid-thirties. I still miss him and occasionally lament not having had much time with him after we worked out our differences. I want more time with Aimee when we can once again relate to each other without her being embarrassed or confused.

I do want that relationship with her, though only the passage of the thing I’m not sure I have a lot of is going to allow it to happen. I guess I have no choice but to wait. Do I have to be patient too?

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So You Think It’s a New Year

January 1st

The World’s Most Life Changing Day

What is time? Here we have a question that has baffled philosophers and scientists since, well . . . since time immemorial. We measure it in numerous ways and, frankly, we’re not terribly interested in any of them other than the calendar at this point. For our intents and purposes, then, time is measured in days; by the rotation of the Earth 360° on its axis and by years; the compilation of 365.25 days as the Earth completes one orbit around our home star, Sol.

To be even less precise, we’re actually only interested in a simple calendar, whether it’s an application running on a computer or a slick-paper collection of rare and beautiful pictures of well-tended gardens and ornate architecture situated in the world’s most exotic locations. The Gregorian calendar, actually, will suit us.

Furthermore, let’s confine our study of time to – essentially – one day; New Year’s day. The first of January, regardless of the year. This is, perhaps, the only day we celebrate that is entirely arbitrary; marking a line in the continuum we call time that isn’t tied to any particular event we’ve experienced or chosen to memorialize for the purpose of not working and having a bar-b-que, stuffing our faces with rich, fattening food, or conducting a car, bed, or linen sale.

Take for instance President’s Day. On second thought, and upon a little research, let’s not take President’s Day as it is a convoluted mess made somewhat abstruse by it’s being a combination of Federal and State observances of the birthdays of George Washington and, sometimes, Abraham Lincoln, and the occasional desire to commemorate the existence of all Presidents (past, present and, presumably, future) of the United States of America.

How about a holiday that marks a specific date on the calendar and hasn’t been moved around yet for the purposes of creating a three-day weekend and making working stiffs and the travel industry happy? How about the most venerable of them all, the Fourth of July – Independence Day? We celebrate this holiday on the same date of the year, regardless of the day on which it falls. Something happened on that day and, each year – relative to the rest of the days on our calendar – we celebrate that thing; that one thing common to us all.

The new year, however, is merely the day on which we’ve – somewhat arbitrarily – determined everything rewinds and starts over. Never mind that every four years we need to tack another day onto it, which we’ve chosen to do in February, the only month short enough to make room for another day without making the other months jealous. It is, for many, the beginning of a new life; a chance to start over and jettison old habits like a layer of useless, molted skin.

There is one thing – one time independent thing – the new year and its joyously celebrated recurrence is inextricably associated with; the New Year’s resolution. That “time-honored” tradition indulged in by an incredibly large portion of the world’s population. The moment when old habits die with a glass of champagne, the singing of Auld Lang Syne, raucous noisemaking, and the occasional over amorous kiss.

What, we may ask, is a New Year’s resolution and why is it so bound up in this arbitrary date that marks the completion of a year’s journey around the Sun? Why do people not make these changes and affirmations when the need for them becomes apparent? Why wait for one, somewhat otherwise inauspicious date to sever ties to the past and, Phoenix-like, rise to embrace a bright, new future? Especially when, usually no later than mid-February, the Phoenix perversely transforms into Icarus and plummets to the Earth, there to lie – seemingly lifeless – until another December 31st rolls around.

Perhaps most people find it necessary to draw a figurative line in the sand of their personal hourglass at the moment we mark the numerical change from one year to the next. Perhaps it eases our ability to put bad habits and worthless pursuits behind us; to bury them in the mists of time and move toward a brighter, more promising future. Perhaps we just like to kid ourselves – like setting our alarm clocks to read 10 minutes fast in order to ensure we arise in time to begin a new day. Who knows?

So here’s my resolution, but it isn’t a New Year’s resolution as I reaffirm it many times a year. When it becomes obvious something I’m doing isn’t working all that well, I’m going to endeavor to change direction as quickly as possible. I’m going to allow my creativity the freedom to find better ways to proceed and I’m going to look for innovative paths to make those better ways pay off in a richer, fuller life for me and my family.

How about you? Do you wait until the new year to change your evil ways, 🙂 or do you move on down the road as soon as practicable once you realize a change is in order? Either way, I wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013 et seq., ad infinitum.


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