Thursday, November 19, 2009

Slowing Down (or not)

I've been in a funk lately, the cause of which I can't quite put my finger on, but I think it involves TIME. I want more time - am I just being cranky and will it pass? Oh, I'm sure that it will. Nevertheless, I feel less and less inclined to listen to an alarm in the morning. I've tried all the tricks, using those crazy radios that let you hear water running, brooks rushing, birds singing but, hey, I still know it means that I have to alight from the bed prior to my body clock's recommendation.

For the first time in my life, I'm not ready to go back to work when vacation ends. When did that happen? I love my career, I truly do but....I'm less and less inclined to enjoy having to account for every hour of the day, following that task master, the written schedule, that says you will be here at 10 and you will be here at 11 and you will have supper at 4. What?? Do civilized people eat at 4?

What's happened to me is that I've regressed. I've become the person I was when I graduated from college all starry eyed - holding what some would say was a useless degree in English (unless you want to teach which was one of two options open to "girls" of my age at that time). What I wanted to do then, before life intervened for the next 40 years, was sit in a little cottage on a beach somewhere and write. Guess what I want to do now? You guessed it! Perhaps not a beach any more - skin cancer put an end to that dream - but maybe a bungalow in southern France or Umbria? A cliche you may say but wouldn't it be worth checking out? After all, no matter what you may read in the local press, the fact of the matter is that Europeans do live longer than we do. Ever wonder why? They live slower.

So here I am in this frame of mind and then I read that Arianna Huffington is going to have an online book group - like I don't belong to enough of those already. But guess what book she's featuring first up? Carl Honore's In Praise of Slowness.

Reading about the so-called slow movement has been a revelation. I no longer feel guilty about wanting to scale back. I no longer feel as though life is passing me by if I'm not going 24/7. I no longer revel in my reputation as the "energizer bunny." I look at the piles of books around the house and want to delve into each and every one. If I don't vacuum as often as I used to? Oh well. If the car isn't spotless - tough. Mow the yard? Yes, I still enjoy it but I no longer obsess. Those things will be here long after I'm gone but the experiences that I miss, the bike rides I don't take, the books I don't get to, the tastes and smells that I overlook, may be gone for good.

All I hope for this weekend? Sitting with Don with our noses in our books. Now I'm off to my latest terrific read (which I've had to renew twice because I can't find TIME for it!) Valerie Martin's The Confessions of Edward Day. More on this later in the week.

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