Here and Now

Have you ever thought how weird time is?

Remember when you were a kid and it took forever for your birthday to come around.

Not to mention Christmas!

All those Christmases spent waiting and waiting…

So many Christmases.

The year we came to Australia stands out like a beacon in my memory. I was eight years old and it felt like I would be eight forever. My birthday took so long to come around. Time practically stood still it was going so slowly. That year seemed to go on and on forever.

Remember summer holidays? School was finally over and we could play all day. When we were old enough we’d go to the pool or the beach with mates and swim and hang out all day. Day after day after glorious day. We fit so much into the time we had.

Photo by Limor Zellermayer on Unsplash

Holidays finally over, we headed back to school. Remember how the days stretched on into oblivion? I would long for each day to end. The teacher’s voice droning like a hive of sleepy bees, on and on, the days were endless. I longed for the temperature to hit a hundred degrees farenheight (40C) so we could all go home. It never happened.

I had a catch up this week with a friend I haven’t seen since my halcyon days. Michael (Mike, Spike) and I were part of a group of friends who hung out, partied, went to the beach or the snow or just did dumb stuff. We were teenagers, I was younger by a couple of years, we hung out every chance we got. Michael was the best friend anyone could have, he was hilarious and could always make me laugh. He taught me how to change the oil in my car, change a tyre and we may have even changed the brakes. There were spontaneous trips to Sydney or Sunbury Folk Festival. We did so much together.

Time is tricksy when you look back, it’s like looking through the wrong end of binocluars. Major events help to focus in on the timeline. I went to live in Texas in 1969, leaving my older brother and sister home alone. I know right? Bonkers! Who leaves a first year uni student and a year twelve student home alone for a year?

It was 1969, the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, most people my age remember that day. Can you imagine living in Texas the year Houston sent a rocket to the moon? Talk about crazy town.

Then we came back to Australia in 1970, I met Michael and the others somewhere around that time. By 1972 I had left home and family in Melbourne and moved to Sydney, at the ripe old age of seventeen. Thank you Janis Ian for the song ‘Seventeen.’

This is me at fifteen when I met Mike and the gang. Then at the wise old age of twenty-one. Sunglasses were essential for the road-map eyeballs. Note the cynical smile.

I have so many memories of my friend Michael and our gang of friends. The cars they all drove and the dumb stuff we all did. It seemed like we knew each other for ever.

When I reflected on how brief it all was, I was blown away by how time seemed to be this elastic stretchy weird thing. I could have sworn we hung out for a decade. We jammed a lot of living into those few years.

Our lives went in different directions after that. I hadn’t seen Mike since about 1975. Talk about a blast from the past. We had a great catch up and shared stories and filled in a few of the gaps. So much better in person than seeing someone on social media.

My friend Mike today. I wish I had one of him from the 70’s. He hasn’t changed.

We said we’ll keep in touch and to make sure it’s not another forty years between catch ups. The way time seems to be racing now, I will have to get right on it! My dad once told me time speeds up as you get older and he was right you know.

The truth is, all we can ever be is ‘here.’ (Even if I go ‘there’ I’m still ‘here’ when I get there.) And all we ever have is ‘Now,’ everything else is either memory or imagination. Weird huh? But strangely reassuring.

Speaking of time, I regularly spend time listening to a podcast (the RobCast by Rob Bell) and I find it fascinating how often what he talks about is in tune with my life. It’s uncanny. I’ve included a link to a recent episode, that blew my mind, because you might enjoy it too. It should come with a warning, Rob Bell is likely to blow your mind.

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