There are three things I know to be true:
1) Some things actually taste as good as being thin feels. (I’m lookin’ at you, mango habanero hot wings.)
2) Before I had my tonsils out, I always sneezed in perfect sets of three, and now I only sneeze in twos. This is likely a government conspiracy.
And 3) Torschlusspanik is a very real, and very daunting feeling–not to mention a thick mouthful of German.
Torschlusspanik (n.): The fear, usually as one gets older, that time is running out and important opportunities are slipping away.
Actually, if you directly translate it, you wind up with “gate shut panic”–that adrenalizing feeling of new experiences creaking their rattling windows shut in your face as minutes, hours, months, years tick right on by. And no one is immune to Torschlusspanik’s evil charms.
Because no matter how focussed you are on the end game, there will always be those what-ifs hanging in the air like fireflies and tempting you with a waggle of their tiny hips to take a closer look, to imagine a different life where you moved to a quaint mountain town instead of the big city, to dip the tip of your pinky finger into the reality where you became an online entrepreneur instead of an elementary school teacher.
But does something as trivial as the hand on a clock or pages being ripped off of a Dilbert desk calendar actually have the authority to padlock our courage in cages, slam all the mahogany doors to our ideal images of success, and prevent us from packing up our kitchens and moving to that quaint mountain town?
Ah, hell naw.
Yet that doesn’t change the fact that we’re scared of numbers. The numbers in our bank accounts, the numbers on the office clock, the number of years we have left.
But instead of hunkering down in security, pulling our imitation-down duvets over our underslept heads and vowing that maybe we’ll give our what-if wonderings a try in the month of Nevuary, watching the hourglass run out of sand is the most important reason to pry open all those “closed” opportunities with a crowbar–putting our backs into it and letting the sweat make streams down our spines.
A reason to wrap our hands in dish towels, tightening our palms into fists and smashing those pristine glass boxes so pompously reserved for cases of emergency.
A reason to lace up our mud-caked boots and kick down those doors that feel so set on slamming shut, fighting to get our grubby little hands on the great lives we know we want.
Time is constantly leaking through our outstretched fingers, dripping unapologetically onto the pavement and challenging us to do something significant with the amount of it we have left.
But the gates don’t close unless we let them.
Because time is just a set of nothing numbers, little hash marks on a wall letting us know that our planet has made another rotation. But your life? Your life is worth every single second of struggle, every rounded drop of determination, and every final moment of fight.