Monday, February 24, 2014

Putting on the Brakes

For most of advanced years, I lived life at break-neck speed, racing from this activity to that one, never slowing down long enough to smell the roses. From sunrise to sunset (and well beyond), I lived life at a frantic pace. Get up, get the kids fed and off to school, go to work, come home, fix dinner, do laundry, supervise homework, baths, bedtime, call parents (if not drive over to visit), pay bills, make lists, fall into bed...and start all over again when the alarm went off the next morning. On Saturdays it wasn't unusual to have two soccer games at two different locations to which I must somehow ferry two boys.

Even after I  had an empty nest, I still had responsibilities to parents. When I moved away to take a new job, many Friday afternoons would find me starting the drive 265 miles to my hometown. The list making continued. After my parents became terminally ill and were in a nursing home, a list of 40-50 items to take care of in just under 36 hours was the norm.

Then one day I was alone and retired and...I will never hurry again, I vowed. And for the most part, I've kept that promise to myself. Standing in a long line at the store, I remind myself I have no reason to hurry home. Caught in traffic, I remember my destination won't disappear. When I travel, I prefer to travel alone on my schedule with my carefully-planned itinerary which is not set in stone.

Returning from a lovely, unhurried yet full four days in Charleston SC on Friday night, I vacillated between driving home on a busy interstate, then on dark windy roads, or getting a hotel room for the night. Yes, the latter cost money, but so would car repairs, hospital bills, etc. I got the room. The next morning after a free continental breakfast, I drove home at an unhurried pace, stopped for gas--and still made it to the post office to pick up accumulated mail before it closed at noon.

Home again, I took one suitcase and one large purse out of the car, unpacked the suitcase in the utility room and started a load of laundry, then sat down to read the 'vacation-pack' of newspapers delivered that morning. Finally, I hopped back into the car and drove to Sonic for "Happy Hour" (diet vanilla Coke) and sat there for an hour reading on my Kindle.

My life. My pace. My resolve to keep those brakes ON.

1 comment:

Liz Flaherty said...

Yes. I love being retired!