On Time, Change, and a Maine Coon Cat

Graham took this picture of Merlin today:

Sometimes it hits me just how big he’s gotten.

I hardly ever find myself wishing that I could stop time. I generally like thinking of the future. I find it exciting, all those possibilities and knowing that if I’m going through a rough patch, it’s only for right now. And that applies to good times, too. Everything is only a moment, and while sometimes that’s hard, I generally view it as a net positive. Being stuck, even in a happy time, would just be boring.

And then, I look at this little kitten that just won’t stop growing and I can’t help but think, “Slow down!”

I don’t have children, so this is as close as I get, I think, to what parents feel watching their little ones change every day. Merlin is a new cat almost every hour. He finds new places to explore and to nap, he likes something and then he doesn’t, he wants all the attention and then to be all by himself. The only constant so far is that he desperately wants to be Annie’s friend. She’s not interested. He’s not giving up.

He’s almost six months old, and I wonder what he’ll look like, what he’ll be like, in another six months. And then in the year after that, and after that. It’s exciting, as it always is for me, to think of the future. But it’s also a little sad, because he won’t be this new baby forever. He’ll grow and change and he won’t be the same. And eventually, hopefully a long, long time from now, and just like Gatsby, who is still so very loved, he’ll die. But he’ll always be Merlin.

(Feel free to laugh as I talk about my pet like a human. I’ve long ago accepted my impending future as a crazy cat lady.)

And then I remember that that’s true for me, too. And for Graham. And for all of us. It’s easy to get caught up, even knowing that everything is really, truly, temporary, in hard times and unhappy feelings, in being down on yourself or feeling stuck in a rut. For many of us, I think the world we live in tends to demand that we occupy a certain spot, like that’s where we’re most useful. But we’re all new, every day. The greatest thing about being human is that we are free to change and to grow as much as we want to, for all the days that we’re alive. And we’ll still be us, even as we learn lessons and try new things and make mistakes.

It’s wonderful, isn’t it?

But it’s also stressful and scary. And absolutely unavoidable. Life happens.

The best we can do is live.

15 thoughts on “On Time, Change, and a Maine Coon Cat

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