Updated: Feb 4
I was visiting my grandfather today in his retirement home. Its the kind of place where everything is neat and immaculately kept. It was a bright sunny but slightly cool afternoon with a gentle breeze that hints at the approaching fall. The sense of change and end of the season both literal and figuratively are in the air. As I sat beside my Grandfather as he told me about how he used to fix elevators at one point in his life, and how he has been retired now longer than he worked. Those days of doing are over for him, now he is quite happy to have his meals served and sit outside soaking up the sunny day. In his old age my Grandfather has really softened, he never used to get emotional, or at least show it, but he certainly does now. The poignancy of this moment really hit me.
My grandfather, who was always invincible in my eyes, is becoming feeble. My aunt becoming the parent asking him if he washed his hands with soap today. My grandfather telling me how happy he is that they get him up and serve him breakfast and then tuck him into bed at night. He is happy to be well taken care of and not worry about anything. I realized that while I am still young and capable right now, my time is finite. Some day I too will be sitting on a bench, gazing out at the day, not able to go out and take on the world any longer. We don't have forever.
This realization made me think about two things.
One, I need to slow down. I have always tended to rush through everything. Rush through my assignments, rush though life stages, just hurry get it done. Find a man, get married, get that good job. Dont worry about what you really want, grab what's there. Quality of emotions was never a high priority in my world. I felt them, but I never connected deeply with many people around me. I always had my guard up.
But in slowing down, we actually get so much more out of the time we have. We can absorb so much more of the beauty. The moments are so much richer. I can think of some many meaningful moments I rushed through because I couldn't handle the intensity of the emotion. Being vulnerable was not something I did well.
Another of my weaknesses is, I could never just let things sit. If there was upsetting me or making me uncomfortable I had to do something about it NOW!. That might mean withdrawing, that might be lashing out, but it never meant just letting things settle. Often because I was reacting while emotional, I made bad decisions, exited otherwise good relationships. This tendency cost me.
Second, it made me realize, taking the time I need to sort myself out is not a waste. There are many years of trauma and emotional upheaval to sort though. I can already feel the benefit of taking the time to work on this aspect of my life. And continuing this work will help make the most of the time I have left.
Rushing anything will cost you in the long run, you miss so much because its all just racing past with you clutch on to something that you hope will give you the comfort and peace you have been searching for. For me, a lot of this have been driven by fear.
I have never taken the time to figure out what I want, what I like and what makes me happy. . I cant even tell you how many times I have heard the phrase "I have heard a lot about what he wants, what about what you want?" and I would sit there completely baffled, because I could not answer that question. I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make in a marriage is make it all about him. Its not good for either of you.
Life moves fast, savor every moment, people move on, they will not always be there. Appreciate them while they are, you cannot hang on to it. Hanging on to something that has run its course ruins the good memories. Being fully present in each moment, will help you let it go when the time comes.
In relation to a significant loss in your life, in my case divorce and healing from abuse you really need to take the time to heal from it, and its not all active healing. Sometimes what you need is just to sit with it and let it run its course.
This is something that has taken a while for me to learn. Lately, I have taken to sitting outside with a coffee, watching the sun reflect of the leaves and trees in my yard, feel the breeze blow. I find this transports me to a state of complete relaxation. My mind clears and I can completely slow down. I sometime spend a couple hours, just being with myself completely and feeling my feelings and letting life flow. Unfortunately I didn't do this, when I should have before I embarked on my life journey. But I can now, and now that I have this second start, I can do it right.
Take that moment, smell the air, look at the trees. Stop and listen to the story your child wants to tell you. Fully feel, every moment, even the painful ones. That is what it means to live.