Thursday, September 25, 2008

13 Ways to Mark the Time

I happen to be one of those strange people who are not afraid of passing time. There was high school, and I survived. There was college, and it was interesting. There was graduate school, and I thrived.

I'm always looking forward to new challenges, and I still feel like I'm growing up, not growing old.

The downside of it, is that I tend to forget my own age, too. So sometimes, it's a good thing to look back and compare who you were to who you are. And it's not a bad thing to learn from your own life in order to infuse your characters with the potential for change.

In no particular order:
  1. Lessons Learned. In a very practical and material fashion: degrees, grades, or certifications. Or just courses or workshops you took. "Remember, that was the year we got together and plotted 9 books in one weekend." Now that's a milestone. And yes, it happened, and what fun it was!

  2. Children. "The year when.." or "The time when..." Children offer dozens of milestones. First day of school ever. First graduation. First, er, disciplinary action.

  3. Movies. How did seeing a certain movie change your way of looking at storytelling, or your perception of a certain book, actor, or even an entire genre? Was that the summer when you started reading (or writing) a new type of novels?

  4. Music. Did you go to a concert? Did you discover a new artist? Did you meet someone the month when a certain song was playing on the radio all the time?

  5. Celebrations at work. It's a good time to see how your attitude towards people has changed, and how co-workers have become close friends. How you once saw the very place where you spend your days, and how you see it now. Even your daily commute: how was it when you prepared for the Christmas (or whatever) party last year? How is it now? What's changed?

  6. Holidays at home. They never seem to change. That's the whole point of holidays. It's the comfort of continuity. But it's also the knowledge that we can maintain this continuity while we change. What are the small differences that we admit within the sameness of our traditions?

  7. Changing bodies. Changing health. From infant children to elderly parents, and diabetic needs, and everything in-between.

  8. Birthdays and candles on the cake. That was rather obvious.

  9. The tree in the front yard planted the first year you moved into your new house.

  10. Old photographs of things you see every day.

  11. Schools your youngest children, or your friends' youngest children, don't go to anymore.

  12. A growing library and books stacking two and three deep on your shelves. Moving because you need room for books.

  13. Learning something new you never thought you'd be interested in.
What's your way to mark time?

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