Several of us widows get together socially and especially we celebrate our birthdays together. When I told one of us that next week was the time for another birthday to be observed, she said, “It can’t be a year.” But, of course it is. The days may drag by at our age, but the years fly.
Which brings me to my own question. Did we have Halloween this year? What became of Thanksgiving? And why is it already Christmas when as I write this, it’s only the end of November.
I think this year in particular we are hurrying our lives away. Is it because I am old that hurrying is devastating? We are encouraged – no, worse than that; pushed is the proper verb to use – we are pushed by the advertising and the merchandising and the greed of the merchants to get their share of gift-giving lavish spending early in the fear that it will run out before the normal shopping time is upon us. Before we (read that I) have made our Christmas lists or gotten an idea about who is to get what, the ads have made their pitch for what gadget is in this year and what new thing no one can do without and the newspaper bulges with circulars to direct my thoughts.
It probably is troubling because of my age. If I am the least bit behind time as I go to the elevator to meet someone downstairs, I need to say to myself, “Slow down, Harriett, you are not late. You will not be late, but what if you are?” I slow down and take a deep breath and at that I’m there before the elevator is.
This year especially, after all the fear about debt and lack of jobs and soliciting to feed the hungry, the rush to increase the personal debt seems obscene. We seem never to learn anything from even our own discomfort.
All my life I’ve hurried to get all the myriad of things done on time. I’ve spent time as productively as it should be or as I thought it needed to be, but there has always been a voice in my ear. One of my mother’s help used to say to me, “Haste makes waste, and you never learn that.” And I am still trying to learn it. I remember Mattie, and I can hear that voice in my ear. I’m still trying to learn it – I’m just a slow learner.
Of course, that’s why I am so bothered by the perpetual hurry that society operates on, I can no longer function that way. I want the world to slow down and wait for me.
My grandfather would be saying, “The cow has forgotten when she was a calf.”
But I haven’t forgotten. I just want to still be one who has the world before me.
Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. And don’t rush your life away.