I know my kids didn’t move straight from infancy to middle and high school but sometimes I am shocked by how fast it all moved.
One day I had preschoolers and the idea that they would be old enough to drive and close enough to college age to start thinking about a time when they won’t be sharing a home with us any longer.
The picture below doesn’t feel like it was taken that long ago. If you compare me now then with the exception of my hairline there aren’t that many changes.
But that little girl who is holding my hand, the one that calls me dad, well she changed a lot.
She is ten feet taller and I no longer worry about her getting hurt because she touched a hot pan, climbed on the stove or any number of things that preschool kids do.
Now my concerns are tied into the stuff I remember hearing parents who had older kids talk about.
The influence of social media and electronics, social issues, drugs, alcohol, teenage drivers.
Thus far none of these things have been of a serious nature or required action other than conversations about making smart choices, but I am not naive enough to believe that things can never go the wrong direction.
Age is relative so I am never surprised to hear my children call me “old man” or any variation thereof.
Usually happens when I am telling a story and I reference payphones, VCRs, tape recorders or Boom Boxes, you know things that were once common and now look dated.
Most of those items have been dated for quite some time already but there are moments where it feels like things changed overnight.
That is what happens when you spend too much time running on a treadmill called life.
If you don’t get off of the damn thing every once in a while you miss stuff.
Change Happens Overnight
In reality our children don’t grow up overnight even though we parents often say it feels like time is moving too quickly.
Regardless that doesn’t negate the feeling you get about some changes having taken place overnight or the changes that do come that fast.
One day you have a job and the next you don’t.
Monday you drive home thinking about your plans for the future and find out they are going to be changed because you need to find a new place to live.
Those are the kind of changes that stick out because they are life altering but sometimes it is the little ones that stick with you the most.
Maybe your favorite restaurant or coffee shop loses their lease or goes out of business for some other reason and you have to find a new haunt to hang out at.
They don’t have to be the places that make the best sandwiches or serve the best drinks to have an impact, they just have to be the place you realize is the home of important moments.
That is the funny thing about moments, you never know when the ordinary will become extraordinary.
Sure you can try to keep your eyes open and maintain your awareness about everything going on around you but there is no guarantee you’ll be awake when that moment hits.
Or more accurately, you’ll be awake, but you won’t be aware of just significant that one is/was.
That is 0ne of the lessons you learn from moving.
That Lao Tzu quote strikes me as another lesson learned from moving.
If you have picked up and packed your bags enough you figure out pretty quickly that you don’t want to drag around more than you need.
So you start paring things down so that you have less to shlep and somewhere in there you have a moment where you begin to realize exactly who you are at your core.
If you never take the time to look inside and ask yourself the hard questions you might be surprised by what you find out about yourself.
But if you ask me it is worth doing, the sooner you know yourself the sooner you can work on figure out how to get what you need and maybe even some of what you want.