No Surprises Here

Digital Illustration from a Photo: Baby Carriage

Kids have an amazingly flexible sense of time. The week at the lake, playing with cousins, is so shockingly short that the suggestion of leaving there provokes crying fits of desperate sorrow over its unbearable brevity. The twenty-minute regular doctor’s appointment, with a quick squeeze from the blood pressure cuff and a thermometer swiftly passed across a healthy forehead, well that might as well have taken ten years, because the same child is now certain she’ll die in a matter of seconds from the prolonged trauma of it all.

But to be fair, isn’t this exactly the way we see time as supposed adults, too? I may not want anyone to catch me whimpering over the end of a holiday or the beginning of a doctor visit, but generally, I’m not less inclined to feel that way than I ever was in youth. The real difference, for adults, is that we have the perspective and experience to recognize the true brevity of our lives within the broad arc of time. We have, if anything, a deeper desire to cling to and attenuate all of the good moments and avoid the bad. It’s not childishness for a kid to abhor pain and sorrow and crave ease and pleasures, it’s an innate wisdom that tells us the clock is ticking.

I won’t tell you to stop wasting your precious time reading my blog posts, no, I am far from that angelic and selfless. But I hope that time thus spent is indeed a refreshment and pleasure, however small. And that, in the larger scheme, it serves to remind both you and me, if gently, to value our limited time of life enough to choose those things that reduce the ills of life and expand upon the joys—for self, for others—forever. Or as close to it as we can manage to stretch.Digital Illustration from a Photo: Carousel and Other Horses

10 thoughts on “No Surprises Here

  1. Children come into this world perfect, we adults put all the fears and limitations in them. What a pity we don’t all stay as perfect as an infant entering this universe for a wondrous life, maybe then we would have better mechanisms in place to deal with things.
    Pardon my rambling dear Kath. Love to you across the oceans with hugs and kisses.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

    • Much love back, Mandy! I think you maintain the beautiful openness of a childlike attitude in life wonderfully for a grownup, my dearest. That is as perfect as I could wish. 🙂

  2. Great words Kathryn. I sit and do mindful meditations most days and am trying to learn to embrace the whole of life, the good and the bad acknowledging all aspects equally, and without judgement. I am getting there – very very slowly. But sometimes I just want to rip that blood pressure cuff off and run away from everything! The child in me simply sometimes wins. And then I begin again… 😊 xx

    • Some meditation is best done in a place (physical or psychological) that is impregnable, that resists harsh realities, so it’s okay if we need to run away to find that place at times. But it’s great that you’re able to seek ways to bring the place to you rather than you to the place, too; that will offer greater shelter and relief in the long run, I’m sure. Every day we all begin again…


  3. What a beautifully refreshing post, Kathryn. My time is hardly wasted reading your wonderful posts. I sometimes wish my time wasn’t limited, but I know that it wouldn’t be quite so precious otherwise. An interesting comparison of what it means to grow up…our perspective of time does change quite a bit, doesn’t it? Have a wonderful day, love.

  4. Lovely thoughts…When the children (Round One, the Original Brood, etc.) were small, anything in their past happened Yesterday, and anything in the future was Next Week…Kind of sad when they learned the clock and calendar…

    • It may well be that what we have lost in childhood’s end is what we seek to relearn through the rest of our lives. Maybe ‘second childhood’ is not a bane but a blessing in disguise! 🙂

  5. Refreshment and pleasure indeed dear Kathryn. If only we could (or maybe we could in another lifetime) bend and stretch time to fill the void with moments of pure joy so much so that the sadness is enveloped in a field of love. Lovely photos! 🙂

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