Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No Wine Before Its Time

Angel wrote earlier this week about taking some time off to just relax and enjoy life. It's funny that she should write about this because last Friday morning my husband called me from work and told me to pack my suitcase because he was headed out the door and we were going to drive to South Carolina to watch #2 son compete in his college conference championship track meet. No advance planning, no making a packing list, no getting the car washed and vacuumed and the oil changed. Just whammo, bammo, throw some clothes in the suitcase and leave. I DID make sure the cats had plenty of food and water.

I emailed my mom and sister to let them know we would be out of town for a couple days and when I checked my inbox one last time before I left, my sister had sent this back to me. I think it's pretty appropos.

Dear Marilyn,

Can't believe you sent the email about your "last minute" trip. What a great idea, especially after reading the following email I received this morning...


Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gas up and stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain." And my personal favorite: "It's Monday." She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because we cram so much into our lives, we tend to schedule our headaches.. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to," "I plan on," and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit."

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to......not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask "How are you?" Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow." And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just called to say "Hi"?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....Thrown away.... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

To those I have sent this to... I cherish our friendship and appreciate all you do.

"Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!"

Sometimes I think I take too many days to relax and don't write enough. I allow things to get in the way and that's why I have two unfinished manuscripts on my hard drive.

On the other hand, when I start thinking about the friends I've lost to cancer in the past couple years, I think maybe having lunch with a friend isn't such a bad idea after all. I'm not a driven person by nature but I don't fault anyone who is.

Do any of you remember that old TV commercial for Paul Masson wine that had Orson Wells saying "We will sell no wine before its time?" I'm beginning to think my life is like that. I will do what I'm destined to do when it's time. Maybe that's a less-than-driven cop-out. Maybe it's looking in the mirror, seeing a few more gray hairs and realizing that my baby will be 23 years old next month.

I'm not going to feel guilty for not being driven, but that doesn't mean I don't get frustrated with my lack of progress sometimes. But progress or not, finished manuscripts or not, they're the product of my free will and the choices I've made. I have no one to blame (or congratulate) but myself.

This is beginning to sound a little preachy so I'll step down from the podium and get back to the edits on the magazine article I sold today. See? I'm not a total goof-off. **gg**

What have you done on the spur of the moment recently?

P.S. #2 son won the 3000 meter run, placed 2nd in the mile, 4th in the 800 meter run and his distance medley team placed 1st and their time set a new university record. His university team won the conference championship title and their coach was named "Coach of the Year." I'm SO glad I didn't say "But I didn't make a packing list" or "It's Friday."


Problem Child said...

One of my favorite quotes is "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."

I think I may open that last box of girl scout cookies today...


Jennifer Y. said...

Great Post!

Instigator said...

girl scout cookies...YUM!

Okay, this is probably only something the tiny catholic school girl inside me finds ironic but... today is Ash Wednesday and starts Lent for us catholics (even the Easter/Christmas ones). Today starts my 40 days of denial (I'm giving up something...thought it would be chocolate until my boss pointed out we're all going on vacation in a couple weeks. Maybe I'll give up ice cream instead. I can always have my chocolate chess pie without the topping.). I'm also supposed to fast - no meat today or Fridays until Easter.

I did bring my Alphie to work with me today though. I'm going to seize the moment (cause both of my bosses are out of town) and write at work today :-) I've been indulging myself for days :-) But thanks PM for reminding me that I should take the time and not feel guilty when I do.


Smarty Pants said...

DB is always accusing me of being unwilling to do anything that isn't on my schedule. I surprised him by taking today off work so we could take advantage of the good weather and do some outdoor projects. Two days is spur of the moment for me. Maybe I'll make us a picnic. I'll have to think about it... :)


Problem Child said...

Oh, and fast turnaround is no reason not to make a packing list...

(who already has packing lists for trips in May, June, and July going)

Playground Monitor said...

I have a toiletries bag that stays packed all the time, so that eliminates the need to round up deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, et cetera. I just have to add my medicines and it's ready to go.

I guess I've traveled enough in my life to have a sort of mental list of basics -- underwear, pajamas, pants and shirts, shoes and socks, jacket if needed. If I know about a trip, I do the list thing and drive my husband insane. *beg* Of course I'm never the one who gets to our destination sans a toothbrush or underwear.

Angel said...

Yesterday, I had a day where I ran here and there from morning until night. Drama Queen had a field trip, there were errands to run, on and on.

When I have one of those days, I usually pull into the driveway at night and quickly shoo everyone into the house for baths, pjs, and prayers. I want nothing more than to get everyone in bed so I can collapse. Last night, for some reason, I happened to notice how clear the sky was-the stars shone bright with just a sprinkling of clouds to add a little mystery.

All of a sudden, the urge to rush faded. I called out to my daughter, "Come look at the stars." I was carrying Little Man and I pointed up to the sky until he looked up. He'd never paid attention to the sky before. But his little face softened as he said, "ooohhh". And my heart melted.

I'm so glad I paused for that moment in time. I stood for five whole minutes, no longer looking at the sky, but at my children, marvelling at their beauty and innocence. It wasn't on my schedule, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.