As a child, I proudly proclaimed my years on earth to the nearest fraction. “Eight and a half!” I exclaimed to inquisitive adults who asked my age in the middle of second grade. As a greying adult, I desperately grasp to latch onto anything concrete that will slow time’s runaway gallop.
Perhaps generations dating back a millennium felt the same acceleration as they matured. More likely, the rapid changes fueled by technology’s advances we experience in current-day society have intensified the sensation.
Anchors help decelerate the dizzying pace. Anthony Hopkins still makes movies, Mick Jagger and the Stones continue to grace the stage, and Tom Brady unretired to sling the pigskin. So when Queen Elizabeth died yesterday, I stopped to take stock. If you consider the monarchy an outdated institution, get wrapped up in its over-the-top pageantry, or fall somewhere in the middle, her passing gave pause. Elizabeth became Queen when Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin held power. She sat on Britain’s throne for seventy years, responsible for whatever ceremonious functions Queens perform.
I never paid much attention to the doings of the Royal Family. Heck, we fought a revolution 225 years ago to rid ourselves of King George III’s yoke. Still, no matter what rapid changes transpired in my life, constants helped steady the tide. The Queen served that role for me.
More hair falls away. There is Elizabeth, sporting another monochrome outfit, waving from a balcony on the evening news. A ginger first step in the morning, an acquiescence to the march of time. The Queen and her matronly smile grace a magazine cover in the supermarket checkout aisle. A change in job status. Her Majesty wears one of her trademark flowered hats as I inadvertently stumble across her image in an internet search.
Now she’s gone, and with her the comfort of constancy. I hope she rests in peace and those that loved her find ease and healing. But I am left looking for someone to tie my rope to, to anchor me, to slow time’s inevitable march.
Keep on crooning, Mick.