Nancy ♦ May 19, 2016 ♦ 32 Comments
I have to interrupt my usual self-absorption to report on a new way to focus on myself.
Yes. a better self-absorption.
I have been preoccupied with getting old. I turned 65 earlier in the year, and all I can think about is how I want to live in the limited time I have left.
But what if it is not limited? What if I have 35 more years?
Yes, they will go by quickly. One kind and generous person (Momshieb) who read my blog “The Meaning of Life” offered this amazing analogy, which she attributed to her husband:
Life is like an old record album (remember?) The first several circuits of the album take a while. The needle has to go all the way around the edge. But as you get closer to the end of the album, the circle grows smaller and the circuits really are faster. But when you listen to the music, you don’t hear a difference.
So accurate! My years will go around faster and faster, but it will still be as sweet.
And there is so much to do!
I am sure I can make my needle go around to the sweetest music ever. My music will be the accompaniment to years of fine, if smaller, travels around the center.
I want to write more.
And sure, a lot will be the trivial silly stuff I often write – because I love to make someone laugh. And maybe a little chuckle is just what that someone needed more than anything at just that moment. To provide that is a noble goal.
But once in a while I also want to write something a little more thoughtful. I hope that a sentence or two may nestle into someone’s heart – maybe not forever. Just for a moment or two will be all right with me.
I want to play more.
Is it fun? Then why am I not doing it? These are the questions I need to ask myself all the time now. I tend to be cautious and fearful. A watcher from the sidelines. But those times when I have been brave are the ones I remember best. I don’t have nearly as many great memories of all those times I observed others having fun. Our good friends have a picnic every summer when they set up a long crazy water slide. I need to go down that slide!
I want to put down my phone.
Oh yes, I’m connected to the whole world. But the whole world is right in front of me. It’s bigger and more colorful and noisier than a couple of square inches on my screen. I’m not giving up my phone (no way!) – I just want to assign it to its proper place. I took the dog to the dog park the other day, and I found I was watching him through my phone – to take the cutest picture, of course. I forced myself – after taking two more shots – to put the phone away, and just BE WITH HIM.
And I learned something amazing. It’s still real if it is an experience that only I have. I do not have to share it. Somehow, slowly and insidiously, social media has altered my perception of reality. That experiences are only real if I share them. That’s so crazy. But I have been sucked in. Facebook and Instagram – and my blog – are terrific ways to connect with the world. But in some ways, those very things can disconnect you from your own experiences.
We’ve all seen it: people who don’t savor what they are eating, because they are busy texting, people who scrolling through Facebook while walking in the park. And most egregious: the school play where everyone is watching through their phones, making videos they may never watch.
I want to watch my kid (or doggie, in my case). Smile at him and take him in.Absorb him directly. Keep him as mine alone.
I want to slow down.
Yes, my old vinyl record is turning faster and faster. But the music can still sound the same.
It seems sometimes that I am speeding up the music. Making my songs go by too fast.
Here’s a tiny example. I have noticed that I cannot decipher my own handwriting. This has always been a bit of an issue for me, but now it is worse than ever. It’s one thing to rush through your signature. But I rush through everything I write. I tear up checks that I know the payee will not be able to cash. I re-write my post-its notes to my husband, because he will never understand what I wrote. It would have been quicker to write it more carefully the first time. Am I really in that much of a hurry that I can’t sign my note “Love, Nancy” instead of “N”?
I am not sure why I do this. But I do it in much more significant ways than my grocery list.
I don’t know why I rush. Why I find that dishes I have washed are still not quite clean. Why I skip paragraphs in books that I am enjoying. Why I don’t pay more attention to the scenery. Why I don’t remember driving to my destination. Why I’m not sure whether that orange was delicious or mediocre. Why I don’t really listen when people speak.
I need to be more HERE.
Because I won’t be here all that much longer.
- Posted in: Advice ♦ Aging ♦ Humor ♦ Writing
- Tagged: Facebook, Instagram, rushing, slowing down, social media
This is so great. I am having the same thoughts, and reading about your journey here is so meaningful to me. I’m not alone! 🙂
Thank you. I think there are many of us.
Love this! Especially: “Is it fun? Then why am I not doing it?” Why am I still worrying about what others might think?
So many people are afraid somehow to have fun.
Every single thing you write, every single time, resonates with me! Thank you!
Thank you so much! You made my day!
Indeed, now is the time to savor every moment because time is racing past.
When I young, my mother said, “You think you have all the time in the world, but you are young and will soon learn it’s gone in a blink.” 🙂
Another fantastic post, Nancy. Belated Happy Birthday.
Thank you. And yes, the days rush by, and I think filling them more meaningfully is the key.
Many of your words “nestle” in my heart. Always a joy to read your posts and yes, time does go faster each year.
Thank you. It is so sweet to know that my words sometimes have meaning to someone.
As I was reading it I was agreeing with every word and then read first line of quote and skimmed to last line. Had to go back and read again slowly!
Yes, let’s stop skimming through life!
I love to read everything you write.
sending you lots of love from sLOVEnia,
Thank you,Klara…. it means a lot!
Your words really struck a chord. I too am contemplating the pace and quality of life. Why am I am feeling bothered for not having published a post, for not having checked Facebook for some time because I’ve been busy doing other things? What matters? 70 will soon be my new reality. A timely reminder to take 5 each morning and listen to the beautiful thrush singing in symphony clear above the other bird sounds .
It seems to me that your priorities are straight. You reminded me of years ago when I had to travel to NYC for business on a weekly basis. No matter how rushed I was, I made myself stop in the middle of Grand Central Terminal and just LOOK. It was more important the the business meeting I was attending.
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Excellent post. I’ve been struggling with turning 60 last month. You are right. Suddenly I can see the end. I’m not sure when or where, but it’s a given I’ve lived more than half my life, maybe more than 3/4. And these last 25 years went by so fast I’m scared that the next 25 will go by even faster and suddenly I won’t be able to do all the fun things I wanted to do that I was going to do ‘later.’ Later might be right now.
And just yesterday I couldn’t decipher my own handwriting!!!! No one else could ever read my handwriting, but I always could. Until yesterday.
You are right. We ALL need to slow down.
Thanks for the post.
It is so hard to slow down. When we feel the time is going by too fast, the inclination seems to be to speed up. But that just makes it worse.
The record album analogy is great! I’m going to remember that one. I think the saddest thing I notice with cell phones are young parents out with their little ones – but they aren’t paying attention to their children. They are engrossed in their cell phone. I want to scream at them: DO YOU KNOW HOW QUICKLY THOSE CHILDREN WILL GROW??? BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THEY’LL BE ADULTS AND GONE FROM HOME! ENJOY THEM NOW!
I am guilty of checking my phone when I have friends sitting right in front of me. I am promising myself to do better.
Did you ever see the movie, “Defending Your Life”? We should all do as much good as possible while we’re here so that we can defend our life when we arrive at our next destination. And have lots of fun, too. That’ll count toward a life well-lived, I hope.
I haven’t seen that movie in a very long time. I will have to see if I can get a copy. It will be a good reminder that my life should count. Thanks.
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Had to come over after I read one of your comments on Blogges. Al you really have is today. That’s all you ever had.
So true. Thanks for coming over from the Bloggess. I love her.
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I do too. She makes me feel not quite so crazy.
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Mindfulness is a worthy quest. I need to do it more, too.
I think one thing I absolutely need to give up is trying to multitask. I was never very good at it, and as I get older, I see that paying attention to one thing at a time is so much more successful.
Many years ago, when I did a lot of scuba diving in the Caribbean, I had an underwater camera and spent a lot of time underwater looking through a tiny view finder. The camera was ruined by a leak during one trip and I found I enjoyed diving so much more without the camera. I could see so much more with just my eyes. I never got another underwater camera and now I try to limit my picture taking on dry land.
Ah yes how time is squeezed by age. An old friend, as in 95, when asked what he noticed most about being in his 90s replied ‘It always seems to be breakfast’
Yes, slowing down is everything, especially as we get older. Thanks for this lovely post.
Gosh. I hope you’ll be here LOTS longer. Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!