the gift of age

I drove home from work—40 in a 35—slow enough to catch a glimpse of a sprite on the sidewalk. The stroller-fastened little girl was being wheeled forward my her mother opposite my sputtering Civic. The girl crinkled up her face and swung her arms, provoked by some bump in the sidewalk or light in her eyes or tightening of her seatbelt. What a life! I laughed as I passed. Isn’t it nice to be a kid? To be so present with your immediate surrounding and immediate emotions?

We grown humans seem to idealize childhood, christening it with the retrospect of divine innocence and simplicity. How easy it is for us to forget the actual terror of living a life so present-focused. The gift of age is also the gift of time. Now, we can recall the past and imagine the future, a kind of contextual balm for the present. To be solely present, perhaps, is not as perfect as it seems. But, to live perfectly present is to invite the past, regrets and all, and invite the future, fears and all, into a bright, awakened now.

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