Yesterday I went to a wedding. Jason, the groom, works with me, and Lisa, the bride, used to work with me, and I believe they started dating while they both worked in my office. Since hiring Lisa was my idea, I am somewhat responsible for the match, and I am pleased that I approve. The ceremony was outside, and very pretty. The reception was fun. All in all it was a great day.
I can't remember exactly when I last went to a wedding, but it has been some years. There was a time in my life when I went to weddings all the time. This started, I guess, with my older sister's wedding, and then there were the weddings of my stepsiblings and my college and graduate school friends. And my own, when I was 29. By now all the people my age are either already married or aren't likely to get married, so the pace of nuptials has slacked off dramatically.
This sets me musing on the path of life. We pass through stages, one after the other. I have watched my children pass through many of them, from newborn babes who still make the hand motions they made in the womb to teenagers who mix defiance and anxiety in maddening proportions. Soon they will become young adults and they will be out dating, establishing their identities, searching for a mate. Then I suppose most of them will marry, and I will be going to weddings again, gray haired, patriarchal, watching what young people do from the more peaceful groves of age.
Life has a trajectory, like a rocket. Once it is launched, the arc is fixed, and if we live long enough most of us pass through all the seven ages. We are babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults. We explore our freedom for a while, then we settle down and take on the responsibilities of work and family. Then we age, losing the fires of youth and, we hope, acquiring wisdom enough to compensate. At the end, we die. Since we cannot change the trajectory, since we cannot go back, our task is to make the most of each stage of life as we pass through it. It is no good wishing to grow up faster, or to grow old more slowly. All we can do is celebrate the path we are on.