“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?”




“You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?” – David Byrne, Talking Heads

As the calendar flips to another year, I’m doing a double-take and furrowing my brow. Wasn’t it just January of 2017…like, yesterday?

Throughout my teens I regularly visited my Great Aunt Mary. On the dresser in her bedroom each year, I would notice the same framed baby and grade school photos of her nieces and nephews. Decades later, throughout my 20s and 30s, as she aged, so did the photos, becoming slightly discolored and curling at the edges.

I was a bit judgmental in my observation. “Why doesn’t she change and update those photos? We’re grown men and women now, and she’s still displaying these baby and grade school pictures? She’s got to get current with the times.”

Aunt Mary lived several more decades into her 90s and passed away over 15 years ago. I stood in her bedroom after she passed, holding the same photos. Looking at the 7-year-old in the photo and the grown man in the mirror, I got lost in a daze as I asked myself, “Well, how did I get here?” I boxed the photos and moved on.

Last month, as I finished cleaning out my dad’s house, I found myself in the basement, where most of my belongings have been stored for the last seven years. I stood in front of a shelf with dozens of framed baby and grade school photos of my nieces and nephews who are now grown (or growing) adults. I caught myself staring in a daze, shook my head and asked myself again…  “Well, how did I get here?” I boxed the photos and moved on.

The time between decades feels like minutes in the arc of a lifetime, leading me to ponder exactly what time is and if it even really exists. I keep my head on a swivel, looking for Christopher Lloyd and a time flux capacitor nearby, just as it was in Back to the Future.

When I occasionally become upset by the stressors of daily life, I keep it all in perspective by reminding myself that time and life are fleeting, and there’s no need to sweat the small stuff. To help keep stress at bay in the new year and beyond, I invite us all to do our best daily to feel good, live simply and laugh more. Happy New Year from all of us at Natural Awakenings magazine.

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