Lying on the table at my acupuncturist’s office Friday afternoon, I closed my eyes and started to “find” my breath — this is what I do anytime I prepare to meditate. Find the breath, I tell myself, and find your life.
A few minutes in, and my mind is wandering to Asia. I open my left eye and look up; above me is a large Tibetan anatomical print with a deity-like figure, each of his critical pressure points labeled in red and blue Tibetan script. Suddenly, my mind leaps to Cambodia, and to a travel show I recently watched about Cambodia. The opening line of the travel show starts something like, “You will only see 985 full moons in your lifetime.”
My mind locks up and both eyes open wide. The number 1971 flashes through my head — the year of my birth. Eighty-one, 91, 2001…I literally count the decades as if I don’t know how old I am. Then it hits me for the first time: I have been alive, on this Earth, in this lifetime, for 35 years. Three and one-half decades. The gravity of 35 years seems to come down on me, out of the ceiling to rest heavily on my chest.
What have I got to show for it? Is this where I expected to be in 35 years? If not, what can I do to change it?
And if I’m less than a week away from being 36, exactly how much time do I have left?