Actually, I mean this not as a measurement of time, but rather a description of culminating events. As a matter of fact, most people can say the very same. A lifetime is not measured by days on the calendar, but rather the experiences we share with another person during a window of time.
A simple calendar hangs on the back door of the pantry in our kitchen. And of those 30 days in the month of September, one date finds itself with a little notation. This year — and every calendar I can remember — my wife marks the calendar of our first date: a lunch at a small deli after morning classes on a fall day while we were both in college.
For us, this is an opportunity to reflect on how life can blossom around you while you have your head down trying to get through the day.
When we did get married, we signed on for “better or worse,” and like most couples I know, we’ve probably tested both of those boundaries at one time or another. The combination of mixing two independent people, the financial challenges of marriage and children always challenged the ability to never lose sight of each other throughout the process.
But along the way, you grow, many times life dragging you along kicking and screaming. And your world, like a child’s fill-in-the-color picture, begins to bloom in colors and shade you never imagined. Where you once saw a simple landscape of connecting the dots — marriage, children, and career — you suddenly begin to realize life is really so much more.
A lifetime is not measured by the years you are together, but what you do with the time you have to share with someone else.
Both my wife and I lost a parent while we were young. But, fortunately, we both watched as our parents lived a lifetime together in their abbreviated time together. Both sets of parents raised families, faced challenges, laughed, cried and successfully navigated any challenge life threw at them. We as children just helped fill in the colors around them.
Many times I look around at others — some as near our neighborhood friend — and marvel as they continue to live their “lifetime” together with absolute passion. To them, they have the wisdom of knowing where they’ve been, what today holds. The only thing they know about tomorrow is they’ll be experiencing whatever the world holds together.
And to me, a lifetime is just that — the sharing of whatever life can throw at you with someone else.
Recently my wife and I spent a week with an extraordinary group of people who, although taking different routes through life, loved each other so deeply you couldn’t imagine one without the other. Everyone’s story was different, but the one common thread was his or her absolute love for each other. To them, they understood the journey, the commitment, and value of each other. They knew a lifetime is built one day at a time.
So as the calendar moves along, remember to live life as if it were measured not by a calendar, but the experiences in your heart.
Woolsey is publisher of the Times-Georgian.