Hello Lamp-post, Whatcha Knowin’?

Source: google.com via Sara on Pinterest

 

That would be a feat. To spend a day walking down the street, talking to lampposts, not worrying that somebody might call in the men with the white coats.

No, I am not going crazy. At least I don’t think so. I simply want to slow things down. The hours, the days, the years.

It is not about feeling old or about feeling like I want to do things differently. I’m perfectly at peace with who I am right now and with who I’ve been in the past; I’m even okay about all those times when I wasn’t kind or didn’t make the smart choice or couldn’t get my happy going. A friend used to say, especially when I was feeling low, that everything you do makes you who you are. Living through whatever crisis of the moment and coming out on the other side makes you stronger. And sometimes choosing to apologize for bad behavior helps too.

Recently, somebody posted a blog with close-up photographs of the buds on the trees in her yard. I think my blood pressure dropped several points as I looked at her photos. Examining those pictures led me to think about Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings, which got a whole lot of hype back in the 1980s, around the time my mind was beginning to open up to the wealth of art and beauty in our world. Georgia O’Keeffe said something in regard to those paintings that perfectly describes what I am looking for when I say that I want to slow things down,

Source: google.com via Sara on Pinterest

 

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time—like to have a friend takes time.”

When I say I want to slow things down I mean that I want to take the time to take notice, to recognize the beauty that surrounds me, which I lose sight of when I am stressed out or overbooked or feeling unloved.

It isn’t the days when I’ve successfully completed my to-do list or finally worked out the problems with my insurance company that make me feel that my life is worth living. They are just the stuff I got done because I had to do it. All of the most poignant moments in my life have occurred when I have slowed down and taken the time to notice what is right in front of me.

Several years ago, when my daughters were young, we were traveling and a flight delay left us with five or six unanticipated hours with nowhere to go. At first, I pulled out every activity book I’d brought for the trip, as well as the Sleeping Queens playing cards set, If I Gave a Mouse a Cookie and Goodnight Moon books, and paper and crayons. But the girls were very young (5 and 7 maybe) and they quickly got bored with all of the entertainment. So I let them wander (within a contained space without taking my eyes off of them, mind you). And a funny thing happened. They started to see things and point them out to me: the texture of the wallpaper, the shine of the pleather seats, the man with his head slumped over, sleeping while sitting up. It was I Spy without the rules. And I got to see in a way that I hardly ever had time to notice the inner workings of my children’s minds. They turned all of their exploration into little performances for me and time passed easily, rapidly, meaningfully.

Saturday night, my husband and I ate dinner with two other couples whom we’ve known for years, people we count among our closest friends. We are all busy with work and kids and extended family and the minutiae of our lives, so we don’t get together as often as we would like; one couple lives only five houses away from us but we can go weeks, dare I say months, without seeing them. We prepared the food, we ate, we drank, we talked. Our conversations ranged from catching up on our kids’ activities of the moment to digging deep into childhood traumas. We arrived at our friends’ house at 6:30; the first time somebody looked at their watch, it was past midnight. For six hours, we did nothing that had to be done. We cut into what normally would have been bedtime (yes, we’re old) and we ate whatever we wanted without feeling bad about it (at least I didn’t).

To have friends takes time. To know your children takes time. To see the beauty in the world takes time. And, to create anything of value takes time.

Now if only I could give myself a break, take the time, and not feel guilty about all that I am not doing when I do slow down then I could offer up some advice without being a hypocrite. Oh to hell with it. Here’s my advice: Take the time to stop and smell the roses. You won’t be sorry and if you let it, it will give you the lift you’ve probably been needing.

 

Sara

Sara

I write about daily life, arts & culture, food, books, nature, animals, parenting, relationships, self-discovery, & more.

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8 thoughts on “Hello Lamp-post, Whatcha Knowin’?

  1. Quite possibly the best advice I’ll see this morning, this week, this month.

    Thanks, Sara.

    I need a partner in crime play. I would so love to walk down the street humming this song and swinging ’round lampposts. But, I need want a video of reactions. Don’t you think it would spread some grins?

    1. That’s a brilliant idea. I’m not sure I can find a local friend willing to be involved though. How about you? The youtube video would go viral in a heartbeat. Reminds me of when one of my daughters was little, she would walk down the street and hug all the trees. People thought that was cute but for a “mature” woman to do that, the reactions would be interesting, I’m sure.

  2. This is such GREAT advice and one of my favorite of your posts! I’ve gotten much better at doing this in the last 13 years (another lesson Mom taught me before she passed), and it makes such a HUGE difference when we take time to connect with the world in this way! Bravo & standing O!

    1. Thanks Elaine. Why is it that the simplest advice (that most of us know in our hearts anyway) is never so easy to follow? congrats on getting so much better at doing this. Some days I feel I am and others I’m at wits end. But today’s a new day so why not try again. 🙂

  3. I loved this blog Sara….I have do a lot of reading on mindfulness and I feel that it is truly the key to leading a full life. So many people “sleepwalk” through life and don’t stop and smell the roses. There is a wonderful book by Jon Kabot-ZIn called Wherever you go, there you are” I love it and re read it from time to time…I think you would enjoy it!

    1. My father gave me that Jon Kabat-Zin book several years ago (and a audio tape). I remember getting a lot out of it but am not sure exactly what. Maybe I’ll read again to see. Thanks for commenting, Christina.

  4. I think you and Benedict must be in cahoots with each other because you both seem to deliver advice and meaningful messages at just the right time. 🙂

    1. Well, I wasn’t going to mention it, BUT when B was looking for your writing cave, he found mine instead. I obviously sent him away because I know he is yours, but not before asking him what to write next for my blog.

So what do you think?