Why the Sucky-ness of Time is a Necessity for Growth
by Daniel D. Maurer
Today, I had a case of the Mondays.
It went something like this . . .
It's not that my weekend was bad, or that my job as a freelance writer sucks. My life is actually pretty freekin' amazing.
And it has nothing to do with how this past Monday has gone for me.
It's that I've grown tired.
I have become tired of always going after it. Always trying. Always yearning to do more, or to achieve more.
It's that time has become annoyingly persistent in its ability to wear on me.
I'm 45 years old now. And I look at what I've done, and it still feels like it hasn't been that much, even though, really, I have accomplished a great deal, relatively speaking. Getting sober was no easy task. Staying there, even less so.
But, thanks be . . . I've beaten the odds, and then some, to continue to try to become a better human being.
Still, I feel tired. It's as if the shine of life has somehow faded.
I even went out this past week and got a new (new-used, anyway) car! I love it.
But everything feels just so . . .
POINTLESS and TIRING.
Last year, I had the opportunity to go to New York City for an interview. The occasion came about after the publication of my second book, Faraway: A Suburban Boy's Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking. The interview went fine, and I enjoyed my short stay in New York City. I visited the High Line and dined on wonderfully greasy and decadent street fare. I also briefly dodged into the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
For the second time in my life, I saw one of the greatest works from the surrealist Salvador Dali: The Persistence of Memory.
In general, I find Dali's work to be simply an interesting phase in the history of art. But, that's about it. Rarely do his paintings move me.
However, that time, this one did. Still does, in fact.
I had the aching realization that the ephemeral, passing nature of time cannot—actually, can never—be stopped. And to try to do so is not only foolhardy, but ill-advised.
(Note: Dali reportedly wanted this particular work of art to represent time in the dream state. For the purposes of this post, I'm hijacking it to mean what I want it to, because screw it . . . any work of art doesn't belong to the one who created it after it gets in the wild—a point I know now only too well as a published author!)
But then, and today too, I see a problem.
What is the alternative? Since we can't stop time, since we cannot seem to ever catch up with all the demands of life—what "other way" is there to live?
I've only come up with one answer. And it doesn't feel like it's a very good one, either. But even though it doesn't "feel right" I *know* it is right.
It seems to me that the only way to live is to stop fighting the inevitability of time; simply let the time flow and be at peace with it.
I'm not the first to come up with this answer, of course. In fact, I just read an awesome post that stated this position much more eloquently (and in a way more fun way) than I have in my little shitty article.
I'm staring at the screen right now realizing, though, that letting time flow and being okay with it is a task that every human being that ever lived had to come to terms with.
But, goddamn it . . . sometimes it's just so fucking hard.
Here's what I mean...
See my dog? His name is Lazarus. He got that name, because he was born dead.
No. Really. He was born dead!
The breeder had noticed late in the evening that Laz's mother had plopped him out on his living room floor a day earlier than he had expected. So he rubbed on him and blew air gently in his little puppy nose.
AND HE CAME BACK TO LIFE! Lazarus dog.
I love this dog. He's been with me from before I was sober. Even when I thought I might be going to prison for my past indiscretions during my addiction, this dog spent many an evening with me crying on his shoulder, hugging him. He's been with me the full five-and-a-half years I've been in recovery too.
You'll notice that the last three photos show Lazarus when we had to get his leg fused because of a bad joint. That was in 2013.
Mostly because it was so hard to keep on being persistent in trying to keep any infection at bay.
Recently, Lazarus has begun limping again. I know that soon, I'll have to take him into the vet to get his OTHER leg done.
The dog is already soon to be nine years old. I know he doesn't have much life left.
And I'm simply tired. I'm tired with worry. I'm tired with things constantly breaking. Wearing down. Growing old. I know it's a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM, that I'd fuss about a pet.
BUT IT'S JUST SO HARD TO KEEP ON PERSISTING TO BE PERSISTENT FOR THE SAKE OF PERSISTENCE.
The ever-marching, incessant beat of time keeps. droning. on. Again. And again.
I guess the ongoing transformation that I'm yearning for, is to persist to persist. After all, it's the only attitude a person can have. We cannot fight against time or its ever-wearing effects we will all come to know as we age. I have to learn to okay with that. We all do.
In fact, I think learning about dealing with the fact that time doesn't have to be our enemy is necessary for growth—eventually, everyone will have to come to terms with it, just for the fact that we're all mortal beings!
Kurt Vonnegut perhaps said it best:
The "amber" doesn't necessarily have to be a sticky, unpleasant thing. Today, I'm choosing to persist to persist.
Because, God knows, the persistence of time will keep persisting, regardless of our response—why not learn to live with it?
One day, I'll be older. My Lazarus dog will be dead and gone. My kids will have grown up. And my car will be rusty and probably hauled up to who-knows-where. Maybe Canada.
The gift of life is that it is passing. That time has an end. If it didn't, it wouldn't nearly be the precious gift that it is.
Rare. And passing. But still worthwhile.
Daniel D. Maurer keeps on keeping on, typing away, because what better thing is there to do than write? He keeps this blog, knowing that change is real and transformation is inevitable. He's an author, a husband, a father, a person living in long-term recovery. And he hopes you find your will to keep persisting to persist.