Sunday 4 September 2011

Who knows where the time goes?

My niece is five (5!) years old today. This is as good a time as any to reflect on the speed of life and on how you've been wasting yours. But I'm not going to.

I am very proud of my niece in so many ways. I admire her imagination, her spirit and her willingness to do stuff. She has an instinct for performance and exhibitionism that I should be jealous of, but luckily I am a very charming person and am not. I am just pleased. Above everything else, she is a respectful, thoughtful and loving person.

Before she was born I was thinking about learning how to do uncle stuff. I spent some time in the bath practicing blowing soap bubbles and in the garden pinging the heads off of bindweed flowers. Of course, five years down the line, I'm still rubbish at both. That's not really who I am.

But it's alright, because the person I actually am is equally good uncle material. I'm unlikely ever to be able to shower her with riches or let her use my beach house in Malibu for a weekend, but that's just life. Life takes all manner of unexpected turns, so who knows? Six weeks before she was born I broke my neck and so nearly never got to meet her at all.

What I have been taught by having children - I now also have a nephew - in my life is that retrospection or thinking about the future are very much for later. Children teach you to live in the now and for the moment. It's something which it's been important to regain sight of. This new carpe diem attitude is surely proven by the very existence of this blog post. My niece can't read, thinks I, so I can say what I like. The fact she starts school on Wednesday and the fact that she'll be reading us all under the table in a trice barely even registers.

So this is why I'm not beating myself up today about five years whizzing by or any time wasted. I was 26 when she was born and am 31 now. You can't even talk about the person I was back then on the same day. Becoming a better person is a realistic ambition to have for the future, I think, so I reckon I should feel happy today. So I will.

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