A reflection on aging and becoming…

clock faces (time...looking back)2

‘Tis alway a (the) temptation
to (want to) revisit, restore
that time afore (that then-time);
to see (to be) my younger (better? best?) self
before the changes wrought by chance and by circumstance,
and, yes, by my (not all so grand) choices…

That then-time
when flesh raged with vigor, fatigue, a stranger, sight, undimmed and all horizons, nigh;
not as now, my earthly tent frayed by aging’s daily decay.

That then-time
when potential was untouched, untapped (and presumed inexhaustible);
not, as now, in too many times past, squandered in vain pursuits (and unrecoverable).

That then-time
when daydreams were the sterling-currency of hope’s exchange;
not, as now, many transfigured as nightmarish specters (as close as next-thought) of my failures.

That then-time
when questions were bright, sunlit avenues of discovery;
not darkened paths dead-ending into pitiless barricades of ambiguity.

That then-time
when first-loves were s’pposed to be forever;
not thresholds to earliest regret;

That then-time
when life’s-end was afar off (and unimaginable),
not today’s wholly conceivable awareness of sooner-than-later death.

Ah, at times, I’d love to revisit, restore my yesterdays.

Alas, ‘tis not possible to fall prey to such temptation, save in recollection,
for only in this-time canst I live,
aye, thrive.

This surest-truth summons daily
that I embrace, embody (having become and becoming still) me.

2 thoughts on “Rewind?

  1. Dear Paul,

    Yes, yes, yes. Your poem strikes all familiar notes in me. Sometimes it is hard to know whether I live most of the day in my body in the present, or in my mind in the past. Sometimes regrets and despair over lost possibility vie with present living for dominance in the present moment. I am even more struck when I realize how much of the past I lived dwelling in the future, and I begin to understand that the part of my life I have most neglected was/is indeed the present moment. How is that we are never satisfied with where, when, what, who we are in the moment in which we find ourselves? Maybe that’s why God seems elusive sometimes, because God stubbornly, insistently dwells in the present moment, and we spend so little time there.

    I love the last lines of your poem where you acknowledge you, despite advancing age, are still becoming. That’s the key, isn’t it? We are always still becoming, and the things that “become” us, i.e., inform us, shape us, are most fitting for us, compliment us, complement us, embody us, are all the things we remember, embrace, regret, reject, accept, tolerate, and mourn and are all things that happened in those long-ago present moments that we may or may not have been truly present for. Was it John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans”?

    Thank you for calling me to focus on something I know but try not to know. Thank you for the reminder that I was always and still am becoming, and that it is a pretty miraculous process that I should show up for and attend to as it happens. Thank you for the reminder that becoming, and being what you have become, is something to be grateful for and to rejoice in, just as we rejoice in all of God’s creation.

    Much love,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Sometimes it is hard to know whether I live most of the day in my body in the present, or in my mind in the past. Sometimes regrets and despair over lost possibility vie with present living for dominance in the present moment.” Karen, this, for me, is an incredibly succinct and spot-on description/visualization of what I sought and seek to convey in this poetic reflection. So, too, your words of past living of dwelling in the future also resonate deeply within me…

    And your existential/theological observation about the elusiveness of God. Verily, I believe God alway is in the present, thus, given my (human) propensity to live in the past and to strive to foresee the future, oft I miss God’s presence and voice. (In this, I reflect that the true countenance of the Roman god of beginnings and endings, Janus, usually depicted as opposite looking faces, cannot be seen for it is in that middle space between the faces; that middle space called “the present.”

    And, thanks be to God, yes, amen, we alway are in the process of becoming. This business of being and becoming is something that I long ago grasped intellectually. Still, the evidence of my evolution, for me, is frequently hard to see…to find, especially when I am caught up in those aspects (read: negative) of my personality, character, being of which I and those closest to me know all to very and damnably well. Nevertheless, regarding my continuing becoming, daily I labor at following your eloquently stated counsel to “show up…and attend to (it) as it happens.”

    Love you,

    Liked by 1 person

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