It is a common practice to use the statement “all my life”. The other day I heard a version of this come from the mouth of my four year old grandson, Jackson. Discussing our dinner options with my grandchildren, I had wishfully offered up Chinese not believing I would get a vote of support. Jackson immediately chimed in that he liked Chinese food and could we get orange chicken? Score a win for Opa. We were soon headed to the local Chinese restaurant to get our carry out and I guess I had expressed my surprise that he was a fan. Without missing a beat, Jackson announced that he always liked orange chicken, he had in his words “liked it all my life, Opa.”
It is a fact that all my life is a relevant term. For Jackson it was a grand total of four years, for me sixty -seven. Jackson’s four years being only a blip in my time line. We often think how fast time seems to move. No matter how long “all my life” is, the passage of time in our memories always seems like just a heart beat. I was once Jackson’s age and I am sure I had things I measured the same way. I am sure something I had experienced was the “best time of my WHOLE life.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell Jackson that he had probably not eaten orange chicken for more than a couple of years, but then even that was half his life. That family trip to The Outer Banks two summers ago was only separated by a moment in time for me but for Jackson it was half a lifetime ago.
“All my life” is a standard that we use and if that is the case, we need to respect it. Just as I will never know when I reached “middle age” until that day when I draw my last breath, I need to be productive with all the years ahead. It is refreshing to know that the best thing I ever did may still be on the horizon and not already just a memory.
Let’s live each day , week and month as a piece of the “all my life” mantra and be the best we can. That said, I guess I’ve tried to be a teacher all my life.
It’s April 15th and this is the view from my office window. But before you get excited, I am not complaining. Everyone else seems to be, but not me. After all, I’ve been here before. In fact this just isn’t that strange. It’s just spring in Wisconsin. My daughter will celebrate her birthday next week, April 21st. Thirty-four years ago we awoke to six inches of snow that Easter morning, the latest day for Easter to occur. We had started that weekend enjoying a beautiful spring Friday morning. The sun was shining, it was almost 70 degrees and we were working on the lawn when my wife’s water broke and we headed for the hospital. It was forty-eight hours later, the birth of our daughter the morning before, and we were looking at a field of white and a forty degree drop in the temperature.
Now before you blame my daughter for THIS spring morning, just realize that the changeability of Wisconsin weather is normal. In fact, it is one of the things I love about this State. Just about the time you think the seasons have changed, you are reminded that the receding season might just take one more shot. Summer doesn’t instantly become fall, fall doesn’t morph into winter overnight and winter just might not give into spring just because the calendar says it should.
I like metaphors. I think spring is like a person waking from a sound sleep on their day off. That sleeper had a long, hard 12 hours the day before, and had been enjoying a deep dream filled sleep (winter). If you’ve been there, you know you wake up in stages. The alarm goes off (March 21st), you don’t jump out of bed. You hit the snooze alarm and try for a few more minutes of sleep. The alarm goes off again (April 15th). What the heck, hit the snooze alarm one more time. It’s Saturday not Monday. I think this is what spring feels like. Just because the calendar sounded the alarm on March 21st, face it, winter might just want a few more days of sleep, even when you thought spring was awake, it dozed off. Not THIS morning, maybe TOMORROW…..maybe next week.
Spring is a season that teaches us patience. Good projects take time and summer is a great project. Spring has reminded us to wait. This too shall pass. The sun will come out and winter will realize its time is up. The snow will melt and the trees will bud. The grass will soak up all that melting snow and brown will give way to green. Patience.
Wisconsin is one of the states in the country that has four true seasons. Each season gives way to the next slowly and with patience required. It is this process that creates the beauty of this state. Today is just a reminder that something exciting is in the air and something new is coming. Snow today, gone tomorrow, well maybe the day after tomorrow…….well maybe next week. But it’s coming. Try to remember that as you shovel one more time.