I hardly know where the days go anymore. They say that our younger years seem long and drawn out because we are laying down tracks of memory and experience for the first time, but as we get older and season follows season and experiences are replayed, our brains spend less time recording them and time seems to move faster to us. Often now, forty years into my life, I find myself reaching out to grasp the speeding tailend of some lovely day and hold it tight, slow it down just a bit so I can really taste it and feel it, let the silver dust of memories stay on my skin for a few more moments.
I've graduated a son now and my youngest stands on the edge of his teen years; my hair is graying and my eyes wear time's creases. Relentlessly we move forward.
I've been spending a lot of time preparing for the upcoming learning year. There are so many things I want to do better, so many books I want my kids to know, so many discoveries I want to discover together...and yet, there is only one day at a time and each hour that slips through drives us closer to the end of our childhood time together. I don't mean to sound melancholy; I feel it keenly. And having just watched one child close the door on high school I know how quickly it will come for the next one and the next.
There's much wisdom in saying, "Relax, just rest, things will come naturally, enjoy the time." I am not one to advocate striving or straining in a household. But I am thinking of all the wasted hours - time spent fretting over chore lists, or slaving over projects that have no purpose but keeping up appearances; time spent in pursuit of other people's lifestyles instead of my own (e.g. spending more time reading other people's blogs/books/articles and trying to recreate their magic in my home instead of living the life God gave to me); time spent parked in front of passive entertainment or useless arguing and fussing. I would like those hours back. I'd like to make better use of them, please.
Last week we packed up the TV and got rid of it...again. (I think this is the 5th or 6th time. Somehow it always makes its way back in.) I have been bemoaning the lack of project and creative space in our house for some time. Wouldn't it be lovely to have a space to leave out an unfinished sewing project or a puzzle that we are working on, or a whole room to do our formal learning in instead of just the dining room table? But our small spaces didn't allow for it and we certainly weren't going to be remodeling anytime soon. Then I walked into our family room and realized we had devoted the entire room to a television set. A television set. Good bye television. Now there is space for a sewing table, room for more bookshelves and a place for all the boardgames. I can't believe I didn't think of that before.
Sometimes, we have very little imagination for our own lives. We think we need more, more, more when what we really need is less: less media, less outside activities, less perfect houses, less complications, less expectation. All that less really leads to more anyway: more open-ended time, more contentment, more simplicity, more opportunities to let memory dance around us and sink into our skin, more chances to grab the tail end of something lovely and hold on to it for a tiny bit longer.