I’ve always obsessed about time. This past week I mulled over the concept of the leap day. Almost 10 leap years have passed in my life. But this year, I am particularly sensitive to this extra day. It’s almost like a real life bookmark. A place of reference for us to reflect on where we were in our lives on the previous leap day four years ago.
It led me to think about February 29, 2008 and where I was and what I’ve become. Time always does that to me. I know my younger self always made plans. I often said, this many years from now, I will be doing this or living here or marrying someone like him. Into my thirties, I am less inclined to make bold statements about the future or where I see myself in future years. I certainly couldn’t envision how life has changed so much in the last four years.
In the last leap year, my family and I lived in an apartment in Houston. My husband was still in training as a NICU fellow in Houston. Our daughter was only two years old and in diapers. She knew how to speak a few words, but most of the time we were still deciphering her baby-talk. It had only been a year since I walked away from my career as a lawyer. I still drove to my childhood home in Dallas to visit my family. My father was still alive. And my sister had just graduated physical therapy school.
Now, oh, yes, now, the passage of time has changed so much. We now live in Arizona. I never imagined, four years ago, that I would wake up to cactii in my yard and witness the pink and purple sky, while the sun sank behind the mountains. Our daughter is six and I have long conversations with her about so many different questions. She reads. She writes. She rides her bike. I probably knew this would happen, but to live it with her and feel her milestones – I didn’t realize how much of it would make an impact on me as her mother and as my own person. In the last four years, I’ve completed two half-marathons, started this blog, and attempted to embrace my new career as a writer. The words memoir and the writing life were completely foreign to my existence four years ago. And then there are the landmarks and people that don’t exist anymore. My childhood home belongs to another family and my father isn’t here anymore. My little sister is getting married this summer.
Things happened in the last four years that I could never predict. Some of it has been trying and painful, while other experiences have provided me with much joy and happiness. I suspect all of the moments, the ones I could and couldn’t forecast, serve as a reminder that time threads through all of these emotions.
Four years from now, I suspect, I will live more moments that I couldn’t predict. The passage of time offers refuge for so many possibilities. And maybe that is the whole point.
Image by David Stokes