A Quick Stroll Through Life

Long Hallway 002a

Usually when I take a break at work, I go walk around the building and let my brain idle in neutral. I go to the floor in the building that has been virtually abandoned during the pandemic lock-down and where I can walk alone with my thoughts.

Since I have access to incredibly long hallways, I decided to play a little game. I decreed that each of my steps corresponded to a year of time.

So, at the beginning of the long hallway, I took my first step and mentally spoke the year of my birth. My next step was the year after my birth. And so on and so forth. I very quickly walked through my childhood. I just as quickly went all the way through grade school, and past my graduation from high school. In the blink of an eye, I was through college and entering the work force. Throughout these first 24 or so steps, I had only had time to take 3 or 4 breaths.

My first job out of college passed by after a few steps. Then a blur of other jobs, almost one per step. The birth of my child blinked by. Then a very few steps later and my child was through grade school. Through college. Entering the workforce herself.

Things whizzed by. Apartments and houses I’d lived in. Cars I’d had. Trips I’d taken. Cities I’d lived in. People I’d known. But the steps were passing too quickly for me to recall anything more than a faint tingling of a memory, a flash of recognition, a hint of a face.

And then it was 2020 and I stopped.

I looked over my shoulder at the way I’d just come. The beginning of the hallway where I’d started was not so very far away. Four or five dozen meters at most. Slightly less than a minute had passed since I began my counting.

Then I turned back around to face the way I’d been going as I was counting.

There was still a lot of hallway in front of me.

But I knew, realistically, I would not make it to the end of the hallway. I simply did not have enough steps left in me to get me there.

So what was my takeaway from this exercise?

I learned not to count the steps.

Being too aware of the passage of time makes it impossible to enjoy the faces and names and places and incidents that make up those steps. We are too busy counting.

Pay full attention to what’s going on as you go by, for it is gone in an instant.

And stop counting.

Especially the steps left to take.

36 comments

    • Hi Christi! I, too, am a nearly-compulsive counter. I count things a lot. Cracks in the sidewalk. Steps in a stairwell. Etc. And I guess there’s nothing inherently wrong in counting the years … as long as we’re not obsessed with the count itself, and concentrate more on the blessings we’ve had in those years and the things we’ve learned and the distances we’ve traveled.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya, Wilt! And thank you. I think sometimes we don’t give ourselves credit for how much we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come. That is the value of looking behind us once in awhile. The hill in front of us doesn’t seem so intimidating when we realize we have climbed mountains in the past.

      I hope you and yours are doing well. Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nick! I’m glad you found it thought-provoking. I don’t often stray away from the humor theme of my blog, but sometimes something serious will strike me and I will feel the need to write about it.

      I hope you’re doing well!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sis! 🙂 It’s so great to hear from you! I hope all is well with you.

      Thanks for the kind words. I think the present situation indirectly put the idea into my head. I had been pondering how we are not guaranteed anything in this life, and how fortunate I was to have gotten this far in my life with no real tragedy or strife to speak of. Some days it seems like I have been alive for millennia. Other days it seems like I have only been alive for a few years. I thought counting off the steps would give me a more accurate perspective of how far I’ve come. It was more sobering that I thought it would be. No more counting for me!

      Take care, Sis! Stay safe. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’re all good, still, and still confined to our apartment although the lockdown is almost completely over (for now) in Québec, now.

        I think that we can’t help counting from time to time… It’s just in us to look back on how far we’ve come, and what should be left for us to enjoy. But (and people hate me when I say that) I often think that I could get out of our apartment building tomorrow morning, and get hit by a car, even if I’m still fairly young, and in perfectly good health. So all in all, what good is counting, after all? 😉

        I hope your little tribe is all well too… I can’t help but worry for the people (like you, of course) that I love in the US when I watch the news on tv.

        Take good care, dear big Bro 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Again, Sis! Glad you’re all still doing good and that the lockdown seems to be over. It is pretty much business as usual here in Dallas. Everything is open, though under new “rules of engagement”. For instance, we all have to wear masks and maintain 2 meters distance between us. Compliance is spotty at best.

          I agree with you that it is important to look back from time to time, and to count how far we’ve come. I’ve found that Life is a complex balance of preparing for the future and of living in the present. As you say, I could get hit by a truck tomorrow, and so what good would all of my hard work and retirement counts be to me? On the other hand, I could live another 50 years and I’d be in dire straits if I wasn’t putting something aside for my old age. I suppose everyone must find the balance that works best for them.

          And yes, all is well here. No one I know has gotten sick. And I avoid the news altogether. I find I am much happier (and therefore much healthier) when I pay no attention to all the doom-and-gloom’ers out there. Things are seldom as bad as they appear on the news.

          But I’ll keep on being safe. You take care too, Sis!

          Like

        • So true! I think it is actually healthy to look back from time to time. We should be proud at how far we’ve come, at our accomplishments, the lessons we’ve learned, the people we’ve met, etc. But there is a fine line between remembering and wallowing. I tend to wallow. I need to learn to stop that!

          And all is well here. There is a lively debate about how best to weather the COVID scare, but for the most part, life seems to be returning to normal. I’ve found that life is much better when I don’t listen to the debate. My new flag is the ostrich with its head in the sand. I fly it upside down from the front of my abode. 🙂

          Stay safe! Take care! Have fun!

          BB (Big Bro) Hugs

          Like

    • Hi, Janet! That’s a good idea. I like to think I take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Unfortunately, opportunities often disguise themselves as disaster. So, I usually just act as random as a pinball in a pinball machine.

      Liked by 2 people

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