The Years Accumulate

One of the odder experiences I’ve had is being confronted that my adult life can now be measured in decades, plural. Today takes that and shoves it right in my face three different times. I’m not feeling old, I’m sitting here and wondering “how can it possibly be decades since that happened?”

First there was this: Andy Weir being interviewed by Adam Savage about his book The Martian. It is a strange crossing of streams in my brain because I’ve been a long-time Mythbusters fan, but most of my memories of Andy are from twenty-five-ish years ago when he was one of my brother’s best friends. Seeing Adam geek out at Andy’s book made me simultaneously really glad, and realize that people from my past don’t cease to exist simply because they’ve walked off camera in my life. Which I knew logically, but apparently some piece of my brain still needed the reminder. It needed the reminder even though it already had that particular reminder ten years ago when Andy previously came to my attention for being awesomely creative. Brains are weird. (Also, you should all go read The Martian and see the movie when it comes out. I loved the book every bit as much as Adam Savage did though I understood very little of the math. It is a great character story.)

Then Howard and I went to see Jurassic World. Twenty-two years ago I went to see Jurassic Park with my fiance, Howard. We came home thrilled and imagining dinosaurs everywhere. Lots has happened during those years, and I’m very pleased to say that the new movie did hit some of the right notes to let me recall that previous movie-going experience. I did walk out of the movie thinking about dinosaurs. This movie was delightful fun and it only increased my desire to see Chris Pratt in more films. Yet I have to say that the best part was holding Howard’s hand in the theater and realizing that he was laughing out loud at the same moment in the film that I was. I don’t often think about the passage of years that I’ve spent with Howard. We just keep moving forward together, focused on the work ahead of us. But today the Jurassic movie made me glance back and notice exactly how much shared experience we’ve accumulated. Yet it doesn’t feel that long really. It feels like we’ve just found our stride and are only getting started.

And, of course, there is the fact that today marks the 15th anniversary of Schlock Mercenary. Since I’ve been doing layout on book twelve, you’d think that my brain would be more attuned to the fact that we’ve been at this for a while, yet somehow it still surprises me. Fifteen years is a long time to devote to a project. This thing has been in our lives for longer than half of our children. For the last nine of those years it has been our primary source of income. I’ve had a front row seat to watch Howard create this thing, and I have to tell you, I’m not sure how he does it either. I don’t know how he holds these big stories in his head and makes up the next piece day after day. Then he pulls threads back in and makes it all come together. I’ve been there when Howard wrestles with self-doubt and I’ve had doubts myself. Schlock Mercenary is amazing and the more that accumulates, the more I’m able to see how amazing it is. I’m glad to be part of it. And has it really been that long?

Time passes whether I stop and notice it or not. I think I would be benefited if I paid more attention and made sure that my days include small creative efforts that will accumulate, because accumulation is a powerful thing.