22! Wow… I can’t believe I have reached this age already. Every age in which I find myself thrown seems another time of questioning if I really even feel that age. I find myself an utter paradox in and of itself to the whole scape of age. I say this with the upmost humble tone… for I am not one to pat myself on the back and say, “Congratulations, Zina… you are a paradox! What a cool and hip title… I think I will change my email to something using it like ‘paradox22ZLahr3000workingtitle@zmail.com’” No… this is strictly an observation. What is a paradox but a contradiction to logic? Yet, where does logic stand without the contrast of complete absurdity? I digress. Here I am writing a blog post (which I feel was about time to do since it has been over a year of rebuilding myself since my last post here), which will also be a Facebook status, and adhering to every desire of social networking that so many of us, the egocentric beings that we are, seem to enjoy. Yet, I do so to ease my mind of the crowded thoughts that seem to be restrained by the confines of its walls. I am 22 years old now. Time is such a strange absurd piece of logic to me. Okay, so there is this system called “time” and it has been documented as starting with seven days, and it starts with light. “Let There Be Light,” as it reads… yet so many of us find, so many of the seven days that are established in series known as “weeks” following such documented creation, ourselves to still be in complete darkness. Then there are 24 hours in a day. My days do not run like most. I find myself lucky if I sleep at all. This is not to lament in the least, but to simply state fact. My nights usually consist of me working on some project… because I am afraid to sleep. I have unusual dreams based on both the real and the imaginary… and they are usually highly detailed. I say this not to complain, or write a “poor me” statement, but to document. Because of this state of mind, I often find myself in a surrealistic environment of my own reality… which I both love and hate at the same time… depending on the dreams instilled. Outside of dreams and into more reality, I have learned that time is an interesting gage of what is expected in order to be an adult. To be an adult, I have learned several things from different sources questioning my choice of lifestyle: being an “adult” surrounds the concept of laughing at anything deemed childish, doing adult ‘stuffs’ like listening to smooth jazz, talking about the news, and finding the weather channel actually interesting. I say this without judgment, but with sincerity that this has been what I have been told is expected of someone of an adult status that I should likely possess. I mean, I can carry a conversation about the news, I have listened to smooth jazz… on the weather channel ironically enough (killed two birds with one stone on that adult meter!)… and I do find myself struggling to be at least somewhat adult-like. But adulthood also surrounds a lot of “nots”: when you are an adult, you are not to play with toys, dress in costumes, or build blanket forts. Nope. Not. Negatory. There seems to be this understanding of time that we are to follow this strict system of giving up the old and embracing only the new mentality. Now, I am not saying that one mustn’t act their age. I believe that people should exude the level of maturity when dealing with the world and the responsibilities that it impresses upon us… but how can we define ourselves as “mature” when we throw away all that we had established as children for only the new ‘adult’ ways of living? C.S. Lewis realized this, and said it best, when he said, “The modern view seems to me to involve a false conception of growth. They accuse us of arrested development because we have not lost a taste we had in childhood. But surely arrested development consists not in refusing to lose old things but in failing to add new things.” Our sense of time is associated directly with an established growth chart, yet we are throwing away old interests and enjoyment instead of adding to them. Time then seems to, in this mindset, award a special merit for those who have the most time notches on their belt. You are older? Oh, then you must clearly know more about the world. If you are an adult, that means you can judge anyone you like. It means you can tell them how to live their lives. I have been around children who do this, but they will automatically be scolded for such statements and marked up as childish banter… yet adults do the exact same thing… and put down adults who uphold things they loved as children and still love today. You can call people names and point fingers like the playground chastising of your past childhood, but you can’t, God forbid, build a blanket fort. My three-year-old niece says more mature things than a lot of adults I know… yet age, based in time, is often a factor in credibility.
Time also governs our world so much. I realize I have to adhere to its system in order survive this world and all its expectations… and I am not stating a superior knowledge in such things, but I do find some of our own systems based in it to be often very limited. Where does the time go…. where does the time go… where does the time make us go… Yet, I encourage people to fight expectations based in age or what-have-you… because I believe, and I will be as bold to say I have determined this in my 22 years on this earth, that maturity rests in the ability to find not repulsion for such childhood taste in favor of obtaining that of the more adult, but an equilibrium of the two. I would probably not give advice in the voice of Scooby Doo to a struggling friend, but I would use it to voice the Scooby Doo doll of my nieces publicly without reserves.
Birthdays are an interesting thing for me because they are about receiving these gifts. I love the thought that goes into gifts, and I have saved every single card I have ever been given… ever. I love reading and re-reading them knowing that someone took the time to write such a thing for me… it makes me feel so very blessed. However, when we receive the gifts of our talents and interests we will usually, often based on the very time/growth chart previously discussed, either keep the gifts ourselves or frantically search for a receipt so we may return them immediately. We are given gifts throughout our time on this earth, and there is nothing greater than to embrace them, while giving through them to help others. You can’t give something you’ve thrown away.
Time has not always been on my side in this past year. 21 was a difficult year of rebuilding. 20 was when tragedy struck, and time stopped for me. I fell stagnant to a broken heart… in multiple areas… but the greatest was the loss of my sister Brie. Brie taught me so much about how to spend time wisely: she gave hers freely… as well as her gifts. Her presence was present enough to many… and it continues to give even with her absence on this earth. I would be lying if I said she does not cross my mind every day, but particularly on my birthday. I fell asleep on a rare occasion the night before my birthday for a good while and dreamed she called me… I miss her so much. It is times like these where I wish I had a time machine. I wish I could go back, but I know that time progresses forward even still. There is no way to freeze it… we just have to strive to embrace every moment and everything that composes that moment. I try to do this when I talk with my friends, hold my grandmother’s hand… or embrace my family. Time is too short and unpredictable not to strive to love in every moment of it. My friends have done just that for me tremendously in my year of being 21… and even prior…and into my turning of 22. I can’t even begin to explain how much the love all of my friends and the people in my life have given me and my family. My faith is only strengthened in seeing the care people put into their interactions with me. My family, my Mom and Grandma, are beautiful hearts that never cease to give. My brother Brandon and his wife Liza are both incredible talents and love without bounds. My brother Stosch and I are so similar… and he never ceases to amaze me. All my siblings, whether I have seen them recently or long ago, are all so dear to me. My brother-in-law Eric inspires me with his strength… and I have so much respect for him. I made so many lifelong friends when I started working on Stikfas… these customizable toys… when I was only 13. I have known these individuals for years, but have only seen them a handful of times… yet I know they will be my lifelong friends. I met some of the most amazing individuals at a local coffee shop called Mouse’s Chocolates. All of the workers here have touched my life in different ways… and have truly reached out and helped me in ways I never even saw possible. My friend Lizzy Ficco, and her beautiful family, have shared so much with me, and her presence in my life has truly been a gift. My friends like Jeff Skoloda, at the welding shop, have encouraged me and taught me so much. My dear friends involved with Light Gives Heat and the film “Moving On,” Dave and Morgan Hansow, their family, the whole crew for Interpret Studios, Patrick Maxcy, the Payne family, all of the interns, everyone involved with LGH have touched me with their love for others, and have continued to inspire me daily. Austin and Miya Blasingame changed my perspective on this world immensely… as did Joseph Perrenoud and Drea Williams… who I met at Austin and Miya’s wedding, but visited me here in Ouray. These people know how to go beyond the expectations of this life… and are truly exceptional. The Clarin family has left a significant impact on my heart as well. Caleb Jacobs and his family have been excellent friends amidst heartache as well. Everyone tagged in this note, you have made an impact in my life. One of my best friends, Rais Clarin, passed away in the same year I lost my sister… and Ome and her children have been family to me in such a significant way. I found a card Rais gave me for one of my past birthdays… and was reminded of how much he loved… and how much he continues to change my life. Many would say that people who leave this world had their time ‘run up’… but I say that they just found a way to go beyond it. The Clarin family and I have experienced similar trials, yes, but we have also experienced similar joys in knowing each other. That family is one of the greatest examples of love I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Barb Sever is also one of these people who has lost so much, but has given so much as well. Then there are people like my dear friend Jim Frank… who I never thought I would meet… that have the same interests, and have filled places in my heart I thought could never be filled. I met him because of my goggles… and he has been such a significant part of my life already. We have built a trebuchet, forged weaponry, and created mass explosions… and I have enjoyed every minute of it! Everyone in my life, back when I was doing lights for various bands, in every place I have worked, in every moment of my day to day life, have made an impact on me. I meet people by chance on the streets, on trains, in stores… and they impact my life immensely. However, perhaps the most unexpected inspiration came from the tiniest of packages of my nieces Mali and Eleri… and my nephew Curren. These tiny ones have made a big impact on who I am… and are an example of how time and age do not matter in comparison to what that time, even if it is short, can contain.
I had this moment at my birthday party where I looked around the room and saw everyone interacting… and was so contented to know that these incredible people are in my life. These incredible people are sharing time with a tesla coil and releasing helium jellyfish with me into the sky… and watching “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” with me. All of them I know in different ways, but we have been placed in each others lives by some miracle… and to even begin to fathom the workings of such placement goes beyond anything I can ever imagine. I can tell where and how I have met each of them, but what goes beyond explanation, is how they have reached me. I would have never guessed I would be in such a place in my life, but I am very glad, in many ways, that I am. I was in darkness so much, but then all of this unexpected light was brought into my life… and I couldn’t be more content in that. Time has been an enemy and a friend, but, regardless, it has shaped me into who I am today. Time should not be based in a hierarchy format of mere expectation, but should be there so we may learn to go beyond it. Go beyond expectations. Go beyond the confines of this world. Go beyond ourselves. I want to go beyond me. I want a life that does not reflect stagnancy, that does not fall victim to time, does not fall victim to expectation… that embraces the old with the new. I want to be there for others, throughout this life of mine, in a way that I have seen others be there for me and my family.
Time is not going to control my life expectancies… but my choices will determine the results of my time here in this world. Perhaps, we should use our time in embracing who we truly are, without the expectations of who we should be through time. I am Zina… and I build robots, wear goggles, dress in costumes, play with toys, drink root beer at bars, I am probably one of the most straight-edge people you know, and I build blanket forts (tips hat to Dusty 🙂 ). I may not be able to build a time machine, but I have found that we, ourselves, are our own time machines… the basic thread in every place we have been, every person who has interacted with us, and everything we have enjoyed, loved, and learned. I am glad I have taken the time to know who I am, and I will have nothing but respect for those who know themselves… and embrace who they are. Time should be allotted to learn of such things through every experience it gives us. Loss has further instilled in me the desire to give. Embracing what is deemed ‘absurd’ has given me more insight into logic. Darkness has given me appreciation in light. A delicate heart has given me a hidden strength. Time continues to build us through contrast, we just have to determine how we are built. This is how I want to spend my time… and I am ready for another year of striving to do so. Thank you to everyone in this life of mine! I love you all! ❤