Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Right Time for the Roses

I am finally learning to slow down, sometimes. It's taken me a year and a half to get here. It seems that the achievement imperative is very deeply inscribed in our psyches. We are so well programmed to get things done, to be productive, that it is not at all easy to fritter away time and not feel guilty about it.

But because these days I have the time, occasionally, I will nurse a cup of coffee (15 minutes), will read an issue of Time from cover to cover (2 hours), or read a book slowly (several days).

One consequence of this slowing down is that it often seems to me that my friends and acquaintances are not taking the time to savor things. I know why this is, of course. They cannot afford to be indulgent because they are busy being good citizens, diligent workers and responsible parents.

And I am not sure that I should be asking others to slow down. Because it is not clear to me how things will eventually end up. It is very likely that while I stopped mid-career to smell the roses, my diligent but harried friends are the ones who come out smelling like roses.

And I would have to end up paying for being so indulgent. So I might have to end up paying for it one way or another – perhaps with a very low standard of living later on, or perhaps by having to work in my advanced years, or in other ways that I don't even know today.

Years from now, when my time to pay up comes, I hope I do so without self-pity. Not grudgingly but gracefully, accepting that I might have been too fast in my eagerness to slow things down.


Marie said...

you and me both...

I am hoping as a turtle like creature I will still have a house around me and make the finish line still simply, slowly and with a smaller foot print than my previous life.

Siva said...

Beautiful post, RamP.

It is my desire to go through life without the arrogance that my choices are all correct, without self-pity that I was forced to make this choice or that, without begrudging anyone the positive outcomes of their choices, but with grace, acknowledging that we all get to make only one set of choices, and look back at my choices not with pride or pity, but with detachment.

Anonymous said...

Really? Busy people smell like roses? I very much doubt it. I would venture out to say that you not only get to smell roses but smell like roses at the same time.