I am often afraid that the years will leave me.
If I stop pursuing, if I take a break, someone will catch up to me, proving me fraud, and all the capacity that’s come to me over the years will slip away, softly away, until it’s like I never had it at all.
And then I go and do that thing I fear again, and I remember why I started in the first place. I remember all the hours I spent engaged. I remember myself existing in this time, the value of these years.
The years don’t leave, a cooing dove who gently seeks another branch. They stay within you, crystallized. The love you had in time is yours; it’s just as real as first it was, and just as pure. It only takes some recollection.
Yet time goes on, for other people too. I don’t fear moving on anymore, feel it some betrayal to acknowledge all these years all in their rightful place—because others move on too, as must we all. The time gone by is territory charted on a map, and we explorers strive on towards new lands.
The years are you, but they are not what you will be. Let them be, I suppose—self-contained in past, real in momentary recollection. Acknowledge them, and let them go. File them away like library books, then close the door.
But keep in mind they’re yours. They’re jewelry you can wear, a mask to don, a branch whose flowers have stopped blooming, but which has thickened into tree trunk. Ever will you carry the imprint of time in your features, in the lines in your smile, in your walk, in your laugh or in the painful way you look away abashed. Be proud that you have lived your life, like no one else ever could, that you erred and it was you, and that you are your triumphs, too: the days where you soared through your surroundings like an eagle in the glittering sun.
Be proud that you have given yourself shape, as the potter spins his wheel; that you are smooth, rough, round, oblique, obtuse, symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Nobody could have done it better, and for that you’ve earned a pat on the back. Your decisions, your practices, your pain and choices and joy, no matter where they led, are a success because they have made you. Perfect, indescribable you. Indefinable you.
And they continue to. So go on, go on your way, and know that all is well. The path you’re on is yours alone; your story is the years’ to tell.