My alarm clock broke yesterday.
I bought that alarm clock when I moved to Minneapolis in 2001. It was the height of style at the time—Target’s first foray into bringing famous designers in-house—and I thought it was the coolest thing on Earth. I had the matching Michael Graves phone and answering machine, too. Logged a lot of hours on that phone, as it turned out, homesick as hell. The phone and the answering machine (remember those? Lord) are gone, but the alarm clock was—wait for it—still ticking. Until yesterday.
It got me thinking about what’s happened in my life since 2001. I’ve moved five times since then. I’ve owned two houses, one by myself and one with my husband, who I also acquired in the last ten years. I’ve lived alone, alone with a dog, with my parents, with roommates, with my husband, with my husband and two dogs, and finally now with my very own family.
I’ve had four jobs. One broke my bank account; one broke my spirit; one broke my brain; the one I have now rebuilt two out of the three. (We’re still poor.) I’ve started graduate school twice and continued it once. I’ve had five cars, I think, though the only one that I truly mourn is the Volkswagen…oh, convertible of mine, I will have you again someday…
I have 452 Facebook friends. Just eyeballing it, it appears that half of those are people I met in the last ten years. That other half is full of people that I haven’t seen in the last ten years, and in some cases more. That’s a long time.
Ten years ago, I just had me. Now, I have me, and my husband and a daughter, for God’s sake. (In fact, I suspect the demise of my alarm clock may have had something to do with said daughter, but I digress.) I have other kids, too, from the newspaper and the marching band and alumni-kids truly all over the world. And now they’re getting married and having kids, too.
So what have I learned in ten years? Sometimes I think not much. Sometimes I think a lot. I learned how to use a circular saw. I learned how to knit. I learned to take life just a little less seriously. I learned how to love so much that it hurts, and I learned how to love just a little bit more until it feels good again. I learned about joy, when I introduced myself to my dearest baby girl, and I learned about grief, when I lost my dearest grandmother. I learned about falling down and getting back up and falling down and getting back up and telling the world to go to hell and then asking it not to. I learned, I learned, I learned.
It has been a long and short ten years. I don’t know if the next alarm clock will last ten more, but I hope that it does. I hope I do, too, and ten years beyond that and beyond that and beyond that more and more. Life is too short. I want to have much, much more of it than I will.