Monday, December 5, 2011

One word for 2011: Blur

Once again the calendar reads December and so a New Year is almost upon us. I am therefore once again drawn to reflect on what has happened these past few months, in an attempt to squeeze the most out of the new days ahead of us all.

One word which would best describe the year of 2011 for me is Blur. As in, everything has been a blur.

More than any other year in my life, 2011 made me realize just how quickly the little moments in life seem to pass us by. I don't mean to sound defeatist or glum, it is just that everything from vacations to car rides to the growth of my second cousins seem to be going at warp speed. When did everything start moving so fast? How are the days, weeks, months and years progressing at such a fast rate?

Let me start at the beginning. When I was just three or four my father would drive my sister and I forty-five minutes to my grandmother's house to be baby-sat while he taught at a nearby school. Forty-five minutes was an excruciating eternity. And endless car-ride. I found it impossible to sit still or stay quiet, despite it being the wee hours of the morning. When would we be there? What's that water? Are we there yet? What is fog? How far away is Grandma's? What's that building? etc. etc. I would exhaust my father with questions until I was told to rest and be silent, at which point I would sit and watch the blur of landscape rush past my window. Over the river, through the woods and small towns. . .

As a child, and even a teenager my family would tell me life can go by in an instant. They would attempt to explain how quickly time goes by once one comes to adulthood, but I never really understood what they were talking about until this year. Now, forty-five minutes seems like thirty. Sometimes fifteen. An easy commute, it is a blip in my day. As it's doubtful I'm more patient now than I was over two decades ago; I think the blame goes to an over-active schedule. Everything is a game of hurry-up an wait. Every day is a rush from this meeting to that one, this appointment and the next, squeezing in dinner with friends, scheduling time with my family and his, and all as various and elusive to-do lists get longer and longer.

When do we ever sit down and reflect? Almost never, if you are like me.

Since I'm starting to ramble I will leave you with this: When I was thirteen I was visiting with my great-grandmother (Nana) and asked how she was doing. She became wistful and told me, "Life is like leaves on a tree." At different times this means different things to me, but it has always made me think.

What one word would describe 2011 for you? What does my Nana's quote mean to you?

((images courtesy of Douglas Kielmeye Blurred Christmas Lights, Elated, and PhotoShopStar, respectively))

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