Those images from the past signal to my heart that time really marches on. For some reason, two nights ago, I decided to look through the pictures stored on my computer. Many of my memories of the last five years have my daughter in them.This is one of my favorite pictures of her. The picture was taken in 2007 on the Kemah Boardwalk in Houston, TX.
As I look at her picture, I started thinking about the number five. I remember in high school, people asking me, “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?” I thought it was a neat question at the time, youth and beginnings my constant companion. As I’ve climbed the age ladder, I look backwards at my life. I am asking these questions, “What has happened in the last five years? What have I accomplished in the last five years?”
In my quest to analyze my last five years, I found some neat facts about others, well-known people and what they accomplished in five years. In just under five years, Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. In five years, Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth and ten other plays. Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, in five years increased his net worth to $10 billion.
I realized that those are some monumental, history breaking accomplishments. I’m not out to compare myself to them, but to really analyze what I’ve accomplished. For me, it is easier to envision what I’ve witnessed instead of what I’ve accomplished. I’ve witnessed the following: the first walk and run of my daughter, the first time she went to school, the first time she picked up a pencil, and the first time she read an entire sentences. I’ve witnessed the loss of my father and my aunt. I’ve witnessed the forming of new friendships and the letting go of others.I’ve witnessed my husband graduating from fellowship and my sister graduating from physical therapy school.
I’ve accomplished the following: I quit my job as an attorney to pursue a career in writing. I ran my first half-marathon. I started my blog. I am a first time home owner. The best accomplishment I’ve achieved in the last five years is a new found appreciation for the ordinary. Coffee in the morning, browsing the internet, walking in the neighborhood, a great lunch with a good friend, a kiss from my daughter’s cheek, holding hands with my husband, hugging my mom, and talking with my sister. Because of what I’ve witnessed, I believe it has helped me really appreciate what happens everyday.
As I continued perusing through the albums, I found this picture. This photo was taken in 2011.
Looking at the two pictures, I couldn’t help but look at time. And think about her life and my own. I believe it is one of those ways of realizing that we are all strapped to time. There is no doubt that it moves, faster and faster, even when we are not noticing. It also makes me wonder what I will witness in the next five years and what I will accomplish. I do know this, that, in large part we have some control on the direction we choose to embrace. For me, what I’ve witnessed has a direct influence on what I’ve accomplished.
What have you witnessed in the last five years? Has it shaped what you have accomplished? Do you believe in five or ten year plans?
“…what I’ve witnessed has a direct influence on what I’ve accomplished.” Wow – excellent observation. I think you’re so right in that the things we’ve experienced or seen for ourselves have remarkable influence on the choices we make down the road.
So much can be accomplished in five years because it seems like such a long time yet looking at my own life, it took me 35 years to truly realize how my past had such a firm grip on me and how to undo all those things that made up the person I didn’t like about myself and to form someone I am actually proud of.
Wow, a lot happens in five years! What a beautiful little girl you have! I really think I need to make a five year plan. I’ve been so intent on savoring moments, that I haven’t really set goals for a while.
I love the way you’ve juxtaposed monumental accomplishments using Michelangelo and Shakespeare with we “regular folk” who are doing the day-in day-out job of raising our children. Look at your daughter’s happy, beautiful face. That accomplishment may not get written about in the history books, but it’s something special – isn’t it?
Looks like you finally read the book. 🙂
An inspirational and beautiful post!
True appreciation for the ordinary unlocks the extraordinary and tumbles us into the eternal moment. I’d say you have accomplished a great deal, particularly in savoring your blessings while being conscious of your losses. Not always easy, but the instinct to know that we are connected in ways that transcend time, in a love that our kids unlock within us if we slow down to realize it… Words are not able to hold it, but we point to it as best as we can with these shimmering inventions of consciousness. Namaste
How lovely she is, and how wonderful for her to have such a thoughtful, spirit-filled mother. It seems to me your life was more rich than can be fully expressed in 5 years. Those are the moments that will last a lifetime because they are marked with love.
Thanks for this perspective Rudri, I really enjoyed it this morning.
First, the pictures are wonderful and yes they make me revere the power of time. In the last five years? I had my first two girls and became pregnant with my third, I wrote and published my novel, started my blog, moved into a new home, and lost my Dad and gained a much greater appreciation for this thing we call life. A lot can happen in a relatively short burst of time. A lot indeed. Thank you for making me reflect on this, Rudri.
We do that a lot over here…analyze what’s happened in the past however many years. Those two pictures speak volumes about how fast time goes!
The last five years have been big ones in growth for me as well. Professionally, I’ve launched my travel site and established myself as a freelance travel writer with actual bylines and paychecks. Personally, I’ve gotten back into shape and stayed in shape. I’ve written my first novel (yet to be published though…maybe in the NEXT five?) lol So I can relate to this post in a big way.
This is really thoughtful and evocative piece, Rudri. Five years can be so significant — whether in the life of a developing child or the life of a rediscovering woman. Would that we could remember that all the minutes and days of our lives can add up to so much if we didn’t lose focus on the possibilities.
Five years … I’ve spent most of it being pregnant or wishing for a nap. But, as you say, I’ve also discovered a true appreciation for the present moment, an honest joy for the ordinary. Your words, like your daughter, are beautiful.