Sometimes, I think I have lived a long time.
Long enough that the U.S. gymnasts who won gold at this year’s Olympics were half my age. Long enough that I was recently carded by a full-grown adult, who recognized me as the lifeguard who taught him how to swim. My recollection was that he was in the youngest age group, with whom I played games like Shake-n-Bake and Duck-Duck-Goose. Now, he was cheerfully bagging my sauvignon blanc. My college years predated Facebook. My high school years predated cell phones. My grammar school years featured cassette tapes.
Sometimes I think I have lived only a short while.
For starters, I occasionally get carded. The ages of my closest friends range greatly, and sometimes, I’m the youngest. When my friend, Abby (who is in her 60s), and I compare marathoning notes, hers include such a male-dominated era in the sport that she spotted only one other woman waiting at the starting line of the NYC Marathon. And relative to the history of yoga and the existence of stars, I am young. (So are you).
And, in between, time stands still sometimes.
I’m sure you’ve had this feeling. Maybe it was the first time you set foot in your college dorm room or the moment after sivasana following your first yoga class. You met a friend who seemed irreplaceable to you before you even knew each other. You watched something historic on TV, like the late Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and thought it may be true that anything is possible or an Illinois senator take the stage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and sensed I could be looking at the first black President.
Moments that make you stop. Moments you don’t forget. Moments that jump out from the years of your life with clarity and liveliness no matter how old you are.
For me, seeing His Holiness the Dalai Lama, leader of Tibetan Buddhism, most recognizable monk in the world, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, in person for the first time was one of these moments. He was in Boston three years ago at Gillette Stadium, where I sat in the fourth row. It was May. Robert Kraft and his late wife Myra sat nearby. The weather changed hourly, as if to underscore the Buddhist teaching of impermanence. There were thousands of people in attendance, but it didn’t feel that way. The moment was big and small, public and deeply personal, at once.
This year, HH returns to Boston on October 14th. Mark the date—for something you won’t forget for a very long time. To register for tickets, please visit dalailamaboston2012.com.