Watching Time Go By

Oct 28, 2023

Witnessing the contradictions of time passing, aging, celebrating, feeling and expanding...

Above: True / Watching time go by in Ireland, November 2023

It’s my birthday month (well, technically it’s a family affair as my birthday and my daughter’s are separated by 9 days). And on this monumental celebration (True’s 18th) I’m writing you from the shores of Ireland and an epic journey she and I embarked upon.

Yes, that’s my girl grounding in fields of lush Irish grass along the seaside.

Birthdays are to be celebrated. Life is to be celebrated. Even so, I’ve never been good about doing that for myself. That said, I have a bestie who won’t let that ride...and I’ve got to admit, I’m beginning to get onboard with this whole celebration thing. Hey, why not?

I also get quite sentimental at this time of year. It is a demarcation of endings and beginnings and big life moments for me. I became a mother, I left a lifetime relationship, I became myself. I think of the past, my parents, my life, my ways of being in the world.

I remember how my mother would take a friend and me to dinners in Manhattan at an expensive and ‘fancy’ Madison Avenue restaurant. We’d get all dressed up and head in for an evening of great fun. I always looked forward to those nights spent with her as she confidently navigated the city, the restaurant and the menu.

We’d order several courses, cocktails, desserts and eat until we exploded. I laugh, because today I love to do the same — to sit around a table with family and friends sampling beautiful food — tasting life. I realize this was what my mother had been doing for me — trying to expose me to MORE — to spark curiosity and expansion — to believe in possibility. This was her love language. Thank you, Nancy.

Recently, I was driving in the car when the sunlight hit my hand on the steering wheel and illuminated a hand I didn’t really recognize — one with age spots and wrinkles. Time.

It wasn’t really alarming, more surprising. As I glanced at the long road ahead (both literally and figuratively), I knew there was still time, but it had flown by so quickly. Where was that young girl with big dreams, packing her dance bag and heading off to the city via subway to auditions?

I was late bloomer and yet I was also thrown into adulthood way too early. Childhood barely existed. I fell into the grind of work in the family business and then moved onto a controlling relationship that kept me contained for far too long. Choices, roads, paths.

But life took a turn for me — one that freed me and opened me up to chance. Perhaps I was just ready to free myself. Friends I have now can’t even reconcile the stories of the woman I had been. While she is unrecognizable, she is still me and she helped me get here — to you.

We never know where this life road will lead, what paths we will cross, what we will discover about ourselves.

Ruminating about it all now, it’s no surprise that these big shifts took place during this season of the year — as if my spirit reached forward and said, this is not where you are supposed to be. There is more dear much more.

Noticing my hand that afternoon was like an affirmation. Yes, life has moved on. Yes, I could choose to focus on ‘what now’ — creams and potions to erase this evidence of aging — or not. OK, sure, admittedly, I wish I had taken care of my neck a bit better. Tell that to a teenage sunworshipper! Ha.

But they are signs of my life and wisdom well-earned. Besides, I’ve got a long road ahead and at least a million more things I want to do, places I want to explore, people I want to meet, life I want to sample.

Age doesn’t stop you from living, it prepares you for what is to come.

Me and my girl in Ireland

This road I’m on is the tapestry of my life, full of ups and downs, pitfalls and triumphs, sorrow and overwhelming, heart-filling joy. I wouldn’t change any of it. It had to happen just this way for me. Of course, I can look back and cringe at certain events or choices, but they had to unfold in divine timing for me to land here.

Yes, there is a bareness of this time of year in the Catskill Mountains — a stillness that leaves one bare and somewhat vulnerable. The pace of life has shifted. We are calmer, more contemplative. The tree limbs are naked, but they give way to views of the majestic mountain ridges standing stoically in the distance. It’s all a matter of perspective.

It is a time of evaluation, not just for me but for all of us. What is working? What isn’t? Where do I want to go? Most importantly...who do I want to be in all of it?

We are all on this road, watching time go by. Maybe we are just passing time, following aimlessly, destination unknown (and there’s a time for that too). Or perhaps like me, your vision is getting clearer, and you are getting more confident about declaring who you are and where you’re going. That may include eliminating things that are no longer serving you.

Seize this precious life adventure with its unique twists and turns, dear souls.  

As a little side note I want to share a quick story with you.

Back to this notion of my road ahead... Eliza, the mother of a friend of mine, is gifted with great psychic abilities. One day out of the blue she told me that my father (who passed away many years ago) wanted me to get off the road. You can’t make this stuff up!

In life, he and I were hardwired very much the same way. He always encouraged me to be on the straight and narrow, be a ‘good’ girl, stay out of trouble, work hard, head down, get through the day...repeat. It’s how he lived his life.

But his message from the other side spoke to the contrary. He kept repeating, “get off the road” and I instantly knew what he was saying. Break free. Take a side road. Let your hair down. Venture into the unknown. Trust yourself. Live an adventure.

I breathe this in deeply because it resonates to the core. So here I am, Dad, driving windy countryside roads in a small car where the steering wheel is on the right-hand side, wandering through this beautiful birthday season with my girl in a foreign land — and I know you are smiling. I am too, age-spots and wrinkles included.

And oh, what a magical ride it has’s an honor to be able to watch time go by. I’m so grateful I can see it through this lens.

More on my Ireland adventures later, dear ones... besides, I’ve got to pay attention to this road with all of its roundabouts. For now, celebrate it all. Your life is sprinkled with stardust even when you don’t see it. Try seeing it!

Be grateful for your ride my friends, your road and where your beautiful heart is guiding you.

— Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


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