I can’t point to the day, month or even year when it happened but at some point, getting older ceased to be a process and became, instead, a place.  It’s a place similar to what I imagine life on mood stabilizers to be: the calving off of dangerous lows and undignified highs, leaving a comfortable space inside the lines.

Tragedy is replaced by a vague sense of loss, ecstatic joy downgraded to quiet satisfaction and that volatile passion that moves continents becomes the more acceptable reliable affection.

And yet something endures of those earlier, turbulent times. It’s triggered at the oddest times, by stimuli with no apparent connection. 

A lone dog barking at dusk, across the water; headlights on a car picking its way slowly down from the top of the bluff; the scent of barbecue carried on the breeze. 

What endures is longing, a sudden painful recognition of time passing and times that will not come again. It is the late-coming insight that living in the moment is the only way to live, and that the hustle and bustle of days gone was just getting in the way.

Joanna Piros