A long time ago I was in a pub on Elgin Street and as I met some friends gathered around the pool table in the back room, it seemed they were celebrating one of their birthdays. I like other people’s birthdays and I like making other people feel good so I asked the object of celebration how old she was. I didn’t get an answer I could have expected. Not because she looked older or younger than she did. But because she wasn’t counting in a way in which I was used to. She said “Ten thousand days”. What the hell, I thought.
It turns out she and some of her friends thought while years were a convenient way to measure time, in our lives, days were the time measurement that really mattered. Because we don’t live years in any formative way more than we live days. I’m ascribing that way of thinking to her with my own interpretation of it but I find it interesting.
When we are infants, we are six or ten weeks old. Then we are six or ten months old. Then we are six or ten years old. And then we stop there. We don’t say we are four or six decades old. It’s always years. Why? It’s convenient, of course. But I think of it differently sometimes.
Not unlike the thinking, regarding history, that nothing happens in the past, but that everything only happens in the present, all of our lives unfold during a day. Today. That’s where we experience things, where we find our happiness and our sadness. When we laugh and when we cry. We may think back upon years as good ones and bad ones but we don’t really remember years. Or months. We remember days.
So I’ve always found it kind of interesting to think of the days I’ve lived rather than the years I’ve lasted. I’m fifty-one. It would take an afternoon and a bottle of wine to remember and write down the most important days of my life. There might be a hundred. Maybe fewer, maybe more. It actually might be a fun exercise that I may take up tomorrow. Perhaps it will be cathartic.
In any case, it is only during today that things happen. Yesterday was only hours ago and in a few short hours, tomorrow will be today. That’s when things matter.
By the way, ten thousand days is about twenty seven and a half years old. In the spring I’ll be nineteen thousand days old. I can’t remember them all but I sure as hell will try to remember the important ones.