Who knew that our wardrobes have the power to mark the passage of time as it sails by? I suppose it’s not that surprising as fashion is so fleeting. Shoulder pads, big hair, and blue eye shadow in still photographs and in older YouTube videos tell the story of time’s steady forward march.
Reviewing some photographs recently, I had the experience of observing my old red jacket mark time for me. The red jacket kept showing up as the years piled up. I began to wonder, had I bought this water-resistant garment sometime just after the dinosaurs became extinct? There I was in one picture, in my cave, striking a couple stones together to make a spark, and wearing that same red jacket.
I started to calculate the time that had accumulated between then and now. Twenty one years ago I spent, I think, about $150 on that coat from the Mountain Equipment Co-op in Calgary. Probably by now I’ve gotten my $150 worth of wear out of it.
This past weekend in Jasper National Park, I looked at the photos taken the same place and same time a year ago. The image of last year’s me was wearing the same jeans and the same shirt. Seriously? Seriously. Time to update these old clothes that still feel new.
Speaking of old feeling new, my birthday arrives on or right around this long weekend in May. In fact, as I write this from the passenger seat in a car crossing Alberta east to west, I’m celebrating my birthday. As I do the calculations and watch as the years pile up, there’s no denying my aging. That’s just how it goes and as I like to remind myself, “Aging beats decaying.”
Like my red jacket, I do still feel new to me, and I’m a little shocked when I see my birthdate on my driver’s license and passport. Official documents don’t lie and the numbers are what they are. That being said, I hope that, unlike my red jacket, I have some wear in me yet.
I hope that there’s more time to visit the mountains again, that there are more roller coasters to ride, and more orange sunsets to see. I hope there’s more time in which to create and to relax. I know there’s more wine I want to taste and at least two more books I’d love to write. It’s been a great life so far and I feel a little greedy for more before I finally meet a fate similar to that of my red jacket, and I’m tossed back into that great cosmic recycling bin from whence I came.