“I’ve observed over the years that many people in our culture experience not having enough time in daily life. The feelings: frustration, anxiety, panic, pressure, stress. It’s as if somebody yelled “Fire!” and although we could get out of the room, we don’t. This is the way we live in relationship to time, all day long responding to the subtle message, “fire, fire, fire, fire... .”
“Many cultures, however, have a completely different experience of time. What is a moment in New Guinea, for example, where there are no words for hours or minutes? Maybe a moment lasts all morning. But for those of us who live in nanosecond time, a moment becomes very, very short, and in each moment we ask how much we have gotten done. How much did I cram into it?” ( “Time Shifting vs. Time Management”, Stephan Rechtschaffen, July 14, 2008)
“Chelsea is having her baby today!” I heard from the voice in my cell phone message. Wait, I just got the circulars in the mail for “Back-to-School” clothes. Boxes of number two pencils and wide-ruled notebook paper are only 2 for $3. Wait, what do you mean one of my sons’ classmates is becoming a mother?
“What I did on my summer vacation: contemplated what I was going to do on my summer vacation if I had the time.” I watched my son play video games and consume groceries. I put my 20-year-old kitty to sleep. I massaged a lot. Dug weeds in the yard. While I was very busy, I did not overlap my commitments. Yet, I still sometimes feel as though life events are splashing down that log flue at an incredible rate of speed.
Yet, I no longer get anxious about it and I certainly don’t panic about it. I do, on occasion, wax poetic and perhaps feel a little disappointed— briefly — that I didn’t get to go someplace in particular or go to that specific event that I thought would be nice. I push things along in a direction I think I might like to see them go and then see what happens.
This is not to say I’m not shocked once in a while by milestones in peoples’ lives or occurrences that measure the life cycle. That’s “now.” “Then” I was a young mother. “Then” I was an 8th grader wanting the independence I just knew awaited me in high school that would liberate my soul from the day-today grind that was the educational system. “Then” I was six years old waiting for my special birthday with a present for each year old that I was. I thought I’d die before that day came.
The anticipation of a visit from my son still brings excitement and just that — curiosity about what may be. It’s what I will “let” happen that I look forward to now. The open hole in my schedule may mean that Love of My Life and I will go for a walk, do an art project together or watch a movie. Work will come. Life and death will come. Joy will come as well…
What did you let happen on your summer vacation?