There are things you cannot learn until they happen to you. I do not mean some moral learning or some wisdom that life sprinkles on you. A few years ago, a cat stumbled into our home, making its presence known for at least the six months that followed. During that time, I learned a lot about cats. I learned that the running gag with a ball of wool and cats is true—something I had always had my doubts about. I learned more, of course, but I have made my point.
Once we make our point, we should stop talking about it. A good example is often sufficient. Anything added beyond that point is more about the speaker than the topic. The cat eventually left, as they often do, but I have its pictures, and I often think about it if I see one of them. I miss many things when I look at pictures, but the person I regularly miss is myself. And no, it is not that I have any reservations about who I am today. I am, in many ways, precisely who I thought I would become by this point, and in many other ways, it has been a pleasant surprise to make my own acquaintance. But even when things are good, you tend to miss what once was.
The other day, as I was getting ready, I looked at my face in the mirror and noticed that the greys on the side of my head had become more than I could feasibly count in a glance. It made me feel many things—in some ways, it was also a good reminder of how fast time passes. I look in the mirror and still remember every person I have been. I do not know where to draw the line. It has been a spanning narrative in my mind. Perhaps, some sort of inventory is in order. That is if I ever find the time for it. The more time passes, the shorter a day begins to feel. There are things on my to-do list I have put off for more hours than it would have taken me to do them.
Life tends to force our curiosity out of us with this talk of time. We must resist as much as we possibly can. But it is a worthy opponent. Take my morning that day, for example. When I looked at my reflection in the daze of sleep, I was still the curious child who cast his suspicions on a cartoon playing on the TV. Until I saw the burgeoning greys and remembered the cat, bested again by “knowing”.