Time is not the enemy.
As I settle into my fourth decade of life, I’ve more or less come to terms with the fact that time only moves one direction, and that this movement necessarily means loss. I will never get back the hair I’ve lost, the wonder of childhood, or my best time in a 5K.
Then again, I will also never get back the shames of adolescence, the agonizing search for an adult identity, or the misery of the 1990 Cardinals. I suppose it’s a fair trade.
I don’t always think that way, no matter how hard I try. Some losses are irrevocable and cannot be offset. And billion-dollar industries have sprouted up around our fear of further loss. One commercial break on my XM radio yesterday featured ads for a testosterone booster, an anti-aging cream, and a “can’t miss” investment in gold. We fear what time may steal from us, and we guard ourselves against it.
But it seems we rarely stop to think about what time gives us–opportunity, maturity, direction, awe. We cannot see the vista without scaling the mountain. We cannot get back to our warm bed without leaving the vista. Moving through time doesn’t allow us to keep much, but neither does it leave us empty.
For most teams, today is the opening day of the Major League baseball season. Whether teams are recovering from a lousy 2013 or, like my team, to build on a successful campaign, everybody gets to start the year fresh. And no matter how 2014 goes, we will all get to start new in late March 2015 also.
I think, in their hearts, most baseball fans are optimists. We keep cheering in the hopes that something good will happen, regardless of what horrors befell us the previous day. Time washes away our trophies and keeps us humble. Time washes away our sorrows and gives us hope.
So for today, anyway, I have a healthier perspective on time. It lets us start new. And God knows we need that.