Every year on my birthday, I retire the watch I’ve worn for the past year. I started the tradition several years ago as I contemplated the path that I thought lay ahead of me. I wanted a way to look back in time and see who I was in the past, to see who I am now as a result of that past. I put on my 6th watch this evening.
Each watch is a testament of sorts, an anchor to that year of my life, a physical link to a time that is past. Perhaps one day I’ll have children, perhaps even grandchildren, and my hope is that they will allow me to tell them a story about each watch. I hope the stories will illuminate parts of my life, like the glowing back light illuminates the thin hands marking time as they tirelessly march in never varying circles. The moments I reveal to those who would listen will be the memorable ones, the accomplishments, the relationships formed and broken, the moments that shaped who I would become. Imagine the joy of showing an eager listener the timepiece I wore when they were born, perhaps they will hearken to the reverence of time itself invested in watches worn in times of mourning. I hope the stories will reveal me. That I will be known.
When I am asked about this year, I am afraid that I will be quick to pass over it. I’ve done little of note this year. Perhaps the most important thing I have done this year is to help record a CD with some of my friends. I won’t be able to point to trips I have taken, funds I have raised or buildings I have built. I have little to show this year for adventure and feats of daring. I have worked many hours, I have slept as much as I could get away with, and I have lived a plain life. I’ve watched as the legacy I thought I had been building had holes punched in it, as it crashed down around me and lay in ruins at my feet. I could only stand idly by while 15 years of my life and work was pulled out from under me. I struggled to fulfill the most basic obligations of society.
What will there be to say about this past year?
I do not know that path ahead, but when someday I am asked about this year, I hope I have the courage to share those things that were done in me instead of by me. For the first time in 15 years I have found freedom from habits that have held me in tight bondage. I was given the courage to finish a self destructive relationship. I found enough courage to ask for more responsibility. I sought a place to use gifts that I was afraid were too weak to be used, and I spent time developing those gifts. I’ve worked towards paying off obligations, and as each is paid, I find myself closer to my next adventure. I’ve re-learned to invest in people, because if I will ever have a legacy that can survive the destruction of a sledgehammer, it must be a legacy built in peoples hearts. This year has been a year of learning, a year of preparation.
Time is a treasure that we hope to fill our treasure(d) chests with. Each tick of the second hand like a heartbeat keeping us alive, but drawing us ever closer to the end. Each beat, is one less to be completed. Do not doubt that each beat, each second, can have value. Even if what you are walking through isn’t exciting, it can be life changing. I know that someday in the future, when I tell the story of this year, it will be foreshadowing the things to come in my next. For now I see only in part, but one day it will be revealed in its fullness.