Is Time On My Side? (Or What Rudolph’s Shiny New Year Taught me About Life)

May 4, 2008 at 7:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I turned forty last week and I’m reading Water for Elephants – probably not a great combo – if you’ve read Water you know why…here’s the beginning of the synopsis from Amazon:

“Jacob Jankowski says: “I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.” At the beginning of Water for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn’t always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. It wasn’t a romantic, carefree decision, to be sure. His parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition…”

Existentialism…remember that? It’s that philosophy they taught you about in high school when (and if) you read The Stranger, Crime and Punishment, and/or Hamlet’s “To be or not to be…” soliloquy. The basic idea is that, if we assume some higher power isn’t justifying our existence what is?

At the very least, it’s an interesting mental exercise, especially when you have kids. What justifies your every day? Really? What happens when you die, and I’m not talking about where you’ll end up (is it heaven or nirvana…?) – I’m talking about looking around you and wondering how things might be different if you disappeared tomorrow.

At the most basic level, I hope, for your sake, that you can say that they would be different – very different. If not, you’ve got some changes to make – start now.

Pick up shells with your kids…play “pretend you’re a lion – a dog – a baker – Spiderman – my pet – etc. ” Read a few books with them, leave the dishes undone, wrestle every now and again – you know. Make it matter – every minute. I began this blog by citing a Rolling Stones song – here’s anonther “T-i-i-ime is on my side…” Is it?

I remember a Rudolph special, “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.” It presented a direct challenge to the Stones (although I have to wonder who would win in a fight…) Father Time, the guy who goes from a baby to an old man in one year, knows we have to make it all count, but isn’t so sure that time is on our side. Here’s what he has to say about it…

Thanks Father Time – we’ll keep your advice in mind…it seems to amount to this: Time is not on your side, but you’re a lot happier if you go down fighting.

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  1. […] Is Time On My Side? (Or What Rudolph’s Shiny New Year Taught me About Life) June 22, 2009 – 8:18 pm No Comments […]


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