What! How Long Ago Was That? (ms)

It concerns me very much that the dates I remember so well happened years ago. Many years ago.

I was reminded of that when someone mentioned hurricane Katrina and the years that have passed since it swept in off the Gulf of Mexico. 9/11 is unforgettable but I was amazed by the number of years that have gone by since. The end of the Vietnam War, the resignation of Richard Nixon from the presidency, my graduation, our wedding; all were important events in history both world and personal. I don’t really want to think of the years that passed since each one happened.

How time flies when you’re having fun or, as it turns out, even when you are not. The bad events I can recall are outnumbered by the good and I’m surely happy about that. The good and bad however are crushed by the monumental stack of days unaccounted for, the days between the big events that now stand out in my minds eye like the flash cards used in a grade school classroom.

There is nothing left, it seems, of those in-between times, those twenty-four hour slices of life that I went through but have nothing obvious to show that I did. Clearly I lived those days but it’s as if I didn’t. Months of them lie sandwiched between big events. A slice of history on either side and hold the mayo.

I have read journals written by farmers and city folk living in the 1800’s, the 1900’s. Tediously they entered the events of each day. The mundane, the routine, the ordinary all found their way into their journals. Farm folk especially took great pains to describe what went on even down to the weather. After a lifetime of such recordings, however, the person had a written record of his life and could point to it, thumb through it, go to a particular date that was not extraordinary, merely another day in a succession of days. What that person did, how he or she spent the time, what happened with their lives on that day, it was all there even the weather. There is no such record in my pocket nor will there likely be. Why start now?

Had I thought of writing such a journal I am sure I would have thrown the idea out the same day. What would I write in it? I did nothing remarkable. My life was mundane, routine. An entry might look like this: ‘Got up. Had oatmeal. Went to my buddies house then fishing and home for supper. It was warm.’ Ah yes, all the excitement of watching a block of cement cure.

Now I wish I had taken the time to begin such a project. I would have recorded those singular seemingly unimportant events of equally routine days that followed one after the other. I would have done it and not until about this time in life found the benefit of it. Now I would have something to look back on and not need to wonder where all the years have gone.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on March 2, 2011.

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