There is a difference between living and being alive.
My mother-in-law had at least 20 different watches that we have found after she died. Some were separated from their wristbands. She still had them, along with the pins that would have held them together.
None of them were working.
All these watches to keep the time, and she wasn’t mindful of it. All these watches to keep time, and she still wasted it.
Her obituary was sad. It was almost shorter than the dash between her birth and death dates. The list of who survived her was longer than the list of her accomplishments. The fact that she outlasted the doctor’s estimate for her to die was prominent.
So she was alive, but what did she do with her life?
This piece speaks to my frustration with her having 70 years of life and nothing to show for it. This piece speaks to my anger that my parents died young and didn’t have time to enjoy the life of retirement. This piece speaks to my doubling-up of my activities so I don’t waste time.
I’m mindful of how short life is.
Too many people these days seem to think there is a “reset” button on life, and there isn’t. They seem to think that life is like the seasons – that there will be a spring after the winter. While I’m part of a faith tradition that believes in the afterlife, I’d like to not find out I’m wrong. I want to have a life before the afterlife.
This is why I write, and create. This is why I wake up early. This is why I take classes that are hard and read books to learn how to help. I don’t want to just have been alive, taking up space. I don’t want to wait until I retire to live.
These watches remind me to be watchful.
The artwork is made using an 11×14 canvas, acrylic paint, matte medium, decoupage glue, five watches, and 11 color copied images of watches, all from the collection of my mother-in-law.