“Time is precious.”
Our house came with this unremovable neon message. Despite emphasizing impermanence, it’s becoming more of a permanent fixture, seemingly resistant to its own teaching.
I love Emily’s work on this place, our home’s previous owner is an interior designer who transformed this mediocre old house from the 60s into a stylish, updated remodel, with mid-century modern aesthetics (I think) and art pieces — worthy of multiple publications praising her work on this thing. When our offer miraculously got accepted, and family & friends asked about the house, we could either send our own iPhone pics or a link to one of her interviews.
Sincere admiration aside, I never was crazy about this neon sign.
It seemed to come from a place of anxiety. A fearful voice grasping at vanishing moments. Sand spilling through its withered fingers: “Time is precious!” It was a warning from an angry old regretful ‘I didn’t enjoy every second of my journey, you better cherish yours!’ type of voice.. almost like a ‘I had to walk nine miles in the snow’ admonition to the damn ungrateful youths.
Well, now I have a new baby.
I can vividly remember being nine at our family beach cabin, running home barefoot from the shore to the evening cookout. I can feel the gravelly road under my feet, I can see the familiar cabin’s shape appear on the horizon, and I can smell the handmade burger patties sizzling on our grill, cheddar slices melting deliciously on top. That cabin got demolished by a hurricane twelve years ago.
Baby Bob was born in February. Due to the highly anticipated arrival of the first grandchild on both sides, his wardrobe is spilling out of his dresser drawers. He’s about to hit month three, and there are several outfits he no longer fits in. My wife Melissa sheds a tear that is half-sarcastic, half-life-shatteringly-real every time we discover a favorite look that we can’t wriggle him into.
The point is, it’s not slowing down.
People are dying. Other people are getting born. A number of humans at those family cookouts are no longer with us, including our beloved matriarch. The cast of characters is shifting on this rock hurtling through the cosmos, and my glowing dad-cave message is getting more and more true.
Now I’m seeing it no longer as an anxious warning, but as a mindful celebration. It’s my literal signpost to not be mentally elsewhere, like I so often tend to do, because I blink and we all jump forward again. It has come hilariously full circle because as we speed along these days, I need, no I’m really starting to depend, on this reminder that time is precious.