We’ve just returned from Falmouth in Cornwall,
not from a holiday, but to see one of our sons, Arco, graduate.
We were at the till in the supermarket in Falmouth on the morning of Arco’s graduation
(I won’t tell you what we were buying him, as you’ll only judge, but it did have a gross picture of a lung on the tube-casing).
The 50-something woman in front of us was talking children (grown-up) to the sixty-something cashier.
She said –
“They do grow up fast.”
The cashier said –
“They do nowadays.”
Which made me giggle.
Partly because kids most probably ‘grow up’, physically, at about the same rate as they’ve always done (please don’t write in saying how much earlier kids hit puberty as shown in this or that study).
And partly because you kind of know what she means…
‘Kids’ are on their phones whilst still in pushchairs, probably day-trading or something,
‘Kids’ are watching porn at about the same time I was learning a playground rhyme about ‘sticking it in’.
But… well… my grandparents were out of school and working in factories at 14.
I guess they grew up bloody fast compared to me, who was still lounging about at 21.
And that ‘they do grow up fast’ thing is also related to how quickly time can seem to pass.
And we’ve really felt it this week…
Watching a couple of hundred young people graduate as film and TV makers, with their exciting lives ahead of them,
Then going to an early music concert last night in a church where the average age was probably 75,
for many of them, their exciting lives are largely behind them.
Blink and you’ll miss it.
So I’m feeling the whole of life this week.
It’s flashing past for us all,
and I’m trying to slow it down by savouring these moments,
feeling those tears forming,
and forming for many reasons,
not just because I’m looking into the eyes of our now adult boys,
or beautiful Gaia,
but because of the hope and joy I’ve seen in the young,
the peace and experience I’ve seen in the older,
and the sense my own, our own, mortality.
On Friday, I climbed up from the car park of a beach in Cornwall, over a sand dune,
and the smell, it’s hard to know exactly what it was, but I think it was part damp seaweed, part dune grasses,
that smell took me back to a feeling I had when I was three, on that very beach, and I wanted to sob at the intensity of the feeling and memory…
I have stood on that rock-pooled beach roughly every ten years of my life, so the memories have not been worn away by over-familiarity.
So what is this?
For me, and maybe for you,
it’s an invitation to slow it down and savour the moments, hold the ones we love close,
reach out with a smile to strangers, enjoy the happy memories without sitting in regret for the less happy ones.
Savour it and cry about it when you feel like it.
I didn’t expect Arco’s graduation, or seeing him with his friends afterwards, would move me so much.
But, yes, life passes.
Sometimes in ways we expect, and others less expected.
We do grow up fast.
Especially nowadays 🙂
John & Gaia x