Occasionally, at a particular time of the afternoon when I’m still and quiet and on my own, the sense of my limited time on this earth encircles and impresses upon my consciousness, all too closely. While sometimes the recognition of my mortality can sweeten experiences and reinforce the necessity to let go of unhealthy concerns and worries and insecurities, it also sometimes drains the blood from my face instilling an acute apprehension. I simultaneously grasp and grapple at the concept of my singular life, here and now, quiet and still. We need faith, hope, focus and aspiration to fuel our sense of significance, worth, meaning and direction.
When that time of the afternoon presents itself - the time when the sun is no longer high in the sky; when the warm and buoyant ambition that accompanied the morning coffee has fizzled; when The Bold and The Beautiful assaults your intelligence on tv - that time of the day - a bleak and almost desperate sensation can suddenly wash over me. The looming comprehension of the immensity of life and death, and the part I am playing, reveals itself, even if only for a moment.
A myriad of emotion can arise in these moments of amplification. I feel delicately frightened and unsure, questioning and nervous, numb and dumb, blasé and carefree. Whatever the reaction, it vanishes in a puff when something from this world distracts me like the whistle of a bird outside and suddenly my concentrated reflection is interrupted allowing elements of my life to make their presence known: the ring on my finger, the shoes by the door, the post card on the table, the reminder on my phone, the boiling kettle, the scattered papers, the pile of books and the attempted crossword. I see how full my life is, full of significance created through people and activities, social engagements and obligations, family and love.
When we are busy, we are distracted, but when we are alone we can be confronted with the what, why, how and when. And sometimes, truthfully, it scares me.