Remember when summer felt like it lasted forever? School would get out in June and the days of summer were spread out ahead of you like a long, lazy, meandering stream just waiting to be discovered and explored. Remember when you would count the days down to Christmas and it just felt like it would never get here? When would it arrive? When would we finally be able to celebrate? Remember decorating for the holidays and being able to soak up the excitement of each one - individually? Remember riding your bike and feeling the wind on your face - nowhere to go and no rush to get back home?
When was it, exactly, when time began to speed up? I'm reminded of the song Turn Around. "Turn around and you're two. Turn around and you're four." Only it doesn't just feel like the years are slipping by; sometimes it feels like they are being squished together. I think it began slowly, but now it is like a mad house of mirrors where everywhere you turn there is something new rushing at you.
As a child, I would get out of school for the summer and have three full months in front of me. Three full months to imagine and dream, run and play. The neighborhood kids would get together and play Hide and Seek. "Olly, Olly, Oxen Free" would be heard up and down the street. Cans would be kicked. Baseball would be played. The days slowly rolled by.
My kiddos get out of school in mid June and go back right after Labor Day. Up until two years ago, however, they would be back at school the end of August. Where was their summer? Where was their leisure? School sports are going through the entire summer and practices and games begin before school starts. The middle of the hour glass seems to be expanding - a bit like my waistline - and the particles of sand are slipping by more quickly.
Growing up, retailers trying to get ahead of the game began advertising Back to School sales earlier and earlier in August. The paper would come and we would groan seeing the supplies prominently displayed on the sale page. Our wonderful days of summer were coming to a close. Now, my kiddos are barely out of school for two weeks and the stores have the Back to School section stocked and ready to go. And, goodness gracious, don't you dare wait until the end of August, because there will be very slim picking indeed!
When my oldest was a toddler I recall when we were into the start of July and a growth spurt had left her with sandles that were not fitting those sweet little feet. Off to the store we went to find a pair of... fur lined boots? What was going on?
Of course, we cannot forget the holiday scramble. Each store wants to be the first to have the products out and the decorations up. In order to do that they keep pushing it up another week, another week until they are months before the actual holiday! One of my favorite radio stations began playing Christmas music before Halloween this year! My other favorite radio station started in mid-November. Are you kidding me? It was time to celebrate Halloween, enjoy All Saints Day, remember the departed on All Souls Day. Thanksgiving is ahead of me. It is a time when I am supposed to reflect on my year and give thanks for all the blessings I have received. However, that is more and more difficult to do when the television and radio are bombarding me with Christmas music and messages!
Turn around. Turn around. Turn around. STOP!
I'm tired of turning and spinning by someone else's timetable. Of course, time goes by. This is not a static world. But I want to get back to a slower paced lifestyle, one that cherishes the idea of family, one that celebrates the moments. It will be a difficult task, I realize. And there may be times when I fall short because, well, because the busyness of life will sometimes get the best of me. However, I'm going to make that effort to clear my calendar and refocus on the things that really matter. When I do turn around, I want to remember the moments of laughter and love. I want to turn around and remember time well spent whether it was sitting and reading outside with the sun on my face and a breeze rustling in the leaves or if it is the crazy commotion of a family gathering where everyone is loud with laughter and filled with food.
I am taking a stand. I refuse to be pushed through time and have the seasons and holidays and weeks pushed together into a blur. I am taking each moment as it comes. I am going to relish it. I am going to be grateful for the joys and the challenges. I am going to look to each day and be thankful for what it brings me. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. Turn around. The day is before you. Soak it in.
"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." Henry David Thoreau