Saturday, November 10, 2012

Past Deadline: Watching for Picnic Areas

Here is the Oct. 11 edition of “Past Deadline” from The Perth Courier. (Still catching up!)
Watching for picnic areas
One day last week I looked up and it was October.
How the heck did that happen?
I am used to picking up the pace in the fall, but this autumn seems to be slipping by faster than ever.
We had a great summer. Work was manageable and we were able to take two weeks off and do some great family stuff near the end of August. We had such a good time that the transition back to school and the regular work routine was, well, abrupt.
As the September start line appeared before us, a voice in my head was shouting: “On your mark…get set….”
Accordingly, I scrambled to get as much advance prep done for clients and my Algonquin courses as I could. I have a heavier load than usual, and I knew if I didn’t have several weeks done in advance, I’d be off the pace from the start.
“Go!” the voice shouted.
Now, in October, I find myself catching up to my prep, so the voice is quoting a famous Disney fish: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….”
Time is such a funny thing (funny haha or funny strange?). When you’re a kid and have, theoretically, tonnes of it ahead of you, time seems like a long, straight, boring road and you are inching and creeping along. You just can’t wait to get around the next bend or over a hill and be a bit older so you can see what lies ahead.
Then, you hit the point when that road is filled with twists and hairpin curves and bumps and steep hills and occasional dark valleys and you have to drive fast and you can’t see all the sights. There are just too many things to squeeze into the hours of the day, and you find yourself wishing either that you had a clone or that you could recoup all those wasted hours daydreaming when you were a kid.
(Actually, I only want the clone. Without all that daydreaming and cloud watching and star gazing I wouldn’t be who I am today. The clone would do the housework.)
It seems to be true that time speeds up as you get older. I’ve heard so many freshly retired people proclaim they don’t know how they ever had time to get everything done when they were working, given how busy they are now that they are retired. (I just smile and nod as I juggle meetings and work and dental appointments for kids and volunteer stuff and 17 minutes of sleep. If retirement is busier, then I’m never going to stop working!)
I wonder if it comes full circle when you get even older – if time stretches out again like a long, slow highway, with a destination not quite visible on the horizon. Or is it like a sloping, downward hill and you coast along? Or a steep, hard climb to a summit? I suppose it depends on how the earlier twists and turns worked out.
The hard part is remembering to pull into the rest stops now and again and have (literally or figuratively) a picnic or enjoy the view or take one of those naps you missed as a little kid when you were too busy running down the road of life to sleep.
Doing that seems to be more and more important as the drive gets faster and faster. You don’t want to run out of gas, after all. And because we don’t really know the route or have a map or GPS on this particular highway, you just never know where the proverbial gas stations and rest stops are going to be – so don’t skip them all!
Now…let’s see how well I practice what I preach. “Just keep driving, just keep driving….”

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