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Dave and Dad. Where did the years go?


2013!!! That’s not a real date. That’s a science fiction date, isn’t it? I think there’s nothing that makes me feel old like writing a date that should still be in the future, but it’s not; it’s here. What contributes to making me feel old, is the fact that, recently, I helped my son move into his first apartment. He’s the first child off on his own. Later this year, he will be the first child to be married.

Over the Christmas holidays, we played some video of my son from when he was a baby. Parents tend to do that so fiancées can see just how adorable the future husband was as a child (and what the children might look like). But after watching close to two hours of my children as infants, I felt depressed. Just as it couldn’t possibly be 2013 already, my infant son could not really be moving out and getting married. Where did the years go? The fact that the memory of those intervening years is hazy at best is quite depressing to me. Fortunately, I did take the time to shoot video of their early lives, and so I have reinforcement of some memories. But taking those videos ended by the time they graduated from grammar school. Where did those high school years go? College was a blur – although I have loan payments to prove it happened. And now they’re about to go off on their own, and it seems like they took their first steps last year. Of course, the problem is that what I really want is a time machine to go back and re-live the ‘60s, the ‘70s and the ‘80s. This time, I would pay more attention to the details.

I know that what I am describing is part of being over 50. It’s the time we find out that our parents were right when they told us over and over: “The years go by faster and faster as you get older.” But they didn’t tell me it went into a warp speed out of Star Trek. These days, I am usually wrong when trying to judge how long ago something was. Like when someone asks: “When was the last time you ate at that restaurant?” And I think it was two or three years ago, but it turns out it was in 1998.

Being in your 50s means that the phrase, “50 years ago,” comes out of your mouth more often than you would like. I remember not too long ago (it seems), I was talking to my former law partner and I said: “Remember 50 years ago when we were in kindergarten?” And he said: “I’m not old enough to remember things from 50 years ago,” even though he is. Well the truth is, I can remember things from 50 years ago. But those memories seem no more hazy than my memories of changing diapers, and getting up in the middle of the night to pick up and walk the floor with a crying child. It’s all things I did, but the time separation has collapsed. The 1980s do not seem that much more recent than the 1960s. It’s all a distant memory.

That’s why it’s so tough to come to terms with dates that begin with a 20. Can it really have been more than a decade since we celebrated the millennial new year? Has it been nearly 50 years since the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan? Where did the intervening years go? 2013? I demand a recount.