(Concerned with where you are on life’s path? Check out White Rabbit’s pocket watch that goes backwards for $58.00 at thewhiterabbit.net–See illustration below.)
There’s a guy on TV who walks around with a giant clock hanging around his neck. His name is Flavor Flav, and he’s a rapper, television star, and member of the rap group Public Enemy. In addition, he’s appeared as the star of several reality series, “The Surreal Life,” “Strange Love,” and “Flavor of Love.”
He holds court with a bevy of young women who joust for a position of favor (flavor?) with him. I don’t understand his supposed attractiveness, but then again, I’m not a young woman. That clock hanging from his neck, pendant style, suggests time’s value to him, for he wears it as his signature accessory…But no one knows what it represents.
We know one thing, however: Flavor Flav’s not alone in his fascination with time.
White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, clad in waistcoat and fingering his pocket watch, saying over and over, “I’m late…I’m late…for a very important date” is another whose preoccupation with time is legendary. He lives in the storied classic that children everywhere read and see in Hollywood remakes of the original, as was recently evident in “Alice in Wonderland,” the Tim Burton movie, starring Johnny Depp.
These two characters—fact and fictional–demonstrate our concern with time.
Younger folks appear eternally ready to rush forward, to add years (and enjoy supposed rewards of such), while those older generally try to slow down a process they realize is hurtling along, at breakneck speed.
Many people are overly concerned with their position on that timeline of life, and sadly, many are dissatisfied. They feel they’re not where they should be, by their own account, at 30, 40, or 50. They focus on what is NOT, as opposed to what IS.
When one considers most of us will live ‘til our mid-80’s (except those who overeat, smoke, or drink too much), the mindset that we’ve not achieved much or kept up with peers (by an arguably early point) would appear counterproductive.
Why do I say this? I speak from experience.
Many years went by when I felt I was merely treading water in life. For 30 years I taught school and raised a family of two daughters who are ten years apart in age. I only realize, in retrospect, that my single parent status forced me to acquire skill in budgeting, planning, and allocating time wisely.
I bemoaned earlier in life the fact I never enjoyed a stable adult partnership. But at 47, I met the man I searched for in my younger years. We share a sense of adventure, enjoy travel, and have deep respect for nature. Since we’ve both weathered many life crises, we’ve developed multiple layers. I have my areas of expertise and he has his, but we might have missed that appreciation of each other earlier. We’ve been together 18 years.
Because working was a necessity, I’ve had 3 careers and they each shaped me in significant ways: While teaching, I interacted with thousands of kids and they taught me important life lessons. As a realtor, I learned to negotiate, evaluate property, and advocate for buyer or seller. I translate that knowledge, now, to other aspects of my life (See former post “Forget William Shatner…I’m the Negotiator”).
Today, I’m a freelance writer who created this blog (I developed proficiency–later in life– using the computer). But my material comes from the very life experiences I’d have willingly avoided… if I’d had my choice.
What’s my point in all of this? My life is nothing like the one I imagined. And the time I spent parenting, teaching, and getting through difficulties and crises provided me with serious skills I’d have never had otherwise. But none of it happened according to my time clock.
Biddy suggests: Stop beating yourself up if you’re not at someone else’s expectations (or even your own). The life lesssons you’re accruing are far more valuable than the material things you probably think you want.
If one’s life is dictated by that clock, he or she misses life along the way.
(Flavor Flav and his bevy of beauties, courtesy NY Times)