Privilege Blog

When We Stop Hurrying, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:23am

It’s been a good week.

Nothing spectacular. No prizes, no surprises, no miracles. But I caught up. I suspect you know what I mean. For years it seems I lived my life hurrying, grabbing metaphorical clothes from metaphorical racks, putting on my shoes as I ran, brushing my hair in a metaphorical car.

The feeling didn’t leave me when I retired. Not right away. But, I had 57 years of catching up to do.

Here are some small unremarkables from this week. I weeded, relocated a few plants, and watered everybody who needs it – by hand. I signed the contract for our roof replacement, confirmed that the painter will finally come finish the front door, and vacuumed the bedroom floor.

I made Korean braised short ribs, combining three recipes to make one of my own. I emailed my brother with some thoughts. I stood on a muscle roller as on more step towards resolving a very old ankle and foot injury.

It is so easy to rush through life accumulating injury.

Maybe it’s easier to wind up almost 60, in a hole, if you’re competent. Oh, probably not. Probably it’s always better to be competent. But sometimes for some people this costs. Many heroic gestures come out of our own hides.

The garden did me a real favor this week. It went dormant. Really, very little is growing. The white roses might be browning, the camellias starting to form small buds, but they’re alone in their enthusiasm. That gave me time for luxuries, to finally move the two hellebores that were lonely and dying under the oak. To fertilize the magnolia tree with a watering can.

My brother and I were talking about peak experiences, last week, or maybe the week before. This week I stood out in my back yard with the hose, my thumb over the opening, arcing the water in large shining drops up and over some greenery. Washing dusty leaves. The sun shone through the hose spray like wizard crystals.

I am not exaggerating.

I am pretty sure that standing on the roller feeling my feet hurt was the most important of all. Catching up means you have to put down all the stuff you grabbed while hurrying. And when you put it down, you might notice rips and tears. This applies to relationships as well. But you knew that.

It’s a pity that life doesn’t behave like a garden. That our jobs don’t go dormant. Or our marriages, for that matter. Certainly our bills don’t. Sometimes I am sad that I am too old now to hurry well and sometimes I want to fall to my knees and say thank you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

37 Responses

  1. You are so right!
    I was hurrying all my life,wanting to make everything perfect. Luckily (?),there were obstacles that made and make me stop from time to time. I learned a lot!
    Because you don’t learn when you are hurrying . Or when you are happy. Then you enjoy!
    I wish you and your ankle and foot to get better :-)

  2. OH your words resonate with me this morning….I am having a lazy start to my day by savouring a bowl of coffee, still in my robe looking out toward the garden.
    Rips and tears…in relationships….wow I love the imagery.
    Hope that your foot feels better soon…aches and pains can be so tedious.
    Enjoy your weekend.

    1. @Bungalow Hostess, Lazy day starts can be so restorative. And my injury is going to hurt more before it hurts less, essentially the rest of my left side has been protecting an ankle/foot tendon tear for 30+ years:(

  3. Hello Lisa. My sentiments exactly. I’m only sad to realize all of this at this later stage. However, its better late than never. My sense of appreciation for everything in life, even disabilities, has grown and hence it’s a much happier existence. To take a line from the movie, HUMAN, “the glass is neither half full or empty, it’s a BEAUTIFUL glass”. Have a nice weekend.

  4. Oh Lisa, this is so apt for me, in so many ways. I know that, only months into retirement, I will be catching up for at least a year. But yes, being heroic in my modest version of same has cost and cost and cost. As it all should, perhaps. But what a relief I’m finding it to let go. . . And so glad to see how exultant that can look on others… (In case that expression “letting go” has negative connotations for some, I’ll happily switch it to simply letting. Happy Saturday! Bet those ribs will be magnificent,

  5. Add this one to my list of my favorite posts on your blog. A week which enables you to catch up (on many levels) is one fine week.

  6. Thank you; this is beautiful.

    This post is so timely, because in the Jewish tradition we just observed Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in which we stop and reflect, fast (traditionally), and think about all the good and bad things we did in the past year, and how we can improve in the next. I really appreciate that day of quiet reflection and turning inward.

    And sometimes the best we can do is take one moment to be quiet, take a deep breath, keep the radio off. Sometimes that one moment is enough.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    1. @Danielle, I think the Jewish observance/celebration calendar has some extremely intelligent moments. Yom Kippur for one, Bar/bat mitzvahs for another.

  7. Thank you for such a thought-filled post today. I found myself nodding, with a mmmmm uhmmmm mmmmm as I read along. Putting down the stuff we grabbed while hurrying is hard. Many rips and tears for sure. Bravo you are able to do so and likely feel a sense of completion and peace. How did your “combined recipe” short ribs come out?

  8. The great thing about retirement is being able to stop rushing around and, yes, catch up. This is one of those posts that really resonates with me – you put it into words so well. Hope your short ribs turned out delicious.

  9. As a veteran of three foot surgeries, I can’t say enough about how a good podiatrist can save you. My current foot wear consists of trail running shoes with a stiff sole and custom orthotics. The orthotics have made it possible to hike and sight see for hours.

    1. @Allison, That’s really good to hear. My injury happened >30 years ago. I tore two ligaments in my left ankle. My foot is tight and out of balance as a result. Podiatrist recently diagnosed peroneal tendonitis – now we are trying to essentially break down the scarring from my old injury so the foot/ankle can heal correctly:(

  10. How do you know my life? Your post was right on the mark today when I sat down finally to check in. You have so rightly and beautifully voiced my thoughts and emotions. Now, I do appreciate your talents.

    Here is a tip of a practical matter:
    Soak your foot in hot water (if that is appropriate for this injury- it might need cold/cool?) but set yourself up a chaor, a book, a phone, a tea in the garden. At your feet you put a cute pot of water full of chopped mint and rosemary and epsom salts- sit in the garden and soak!! We have a therapeutic water trough (people use only) 100 gallons. We fill it to the top, herb it up, and sink in up to our face. Outside overlooking a wooded ravine. Sweet. Of course, we have no nosy neighbors!!!

    1. @susie, I am so happy to resonate. I really am. And I don’t have a perch quite so scenic, but, the bench in the backyard would do, with a bucket or two:). Sounds heavenly.

  11. This is an absolutely beautiful post. You capture perfectly what I have been feeling all week, but haven’t been able to put in words. Thank you.

  12. I am not a good “hurrier.” Or would it be more grammatically correct to say that I don’t hurry efficiently. I get stressed and I screw up when I hurry. And I come from a family of great hurriers. Lucky for me, my mum married THE most patient man in the world when I was 13, and I somehow absorbed his wisdom of not hurrying. He was mostly definitely NOT a hurrier…most farmers aren’t, I believe. My older sisters and my mum used to get exasperated with me, now they just sigh and say how lucky I was to have learned that skill from my step-father.
    Great post, as usual, Lisa!

  13. Such a poignant and thoughtful post…resonates with me, deeply.
    Good luck on the foot/ankle treatment. Any chance of your sharing your
    amalgamated recipe for the ribs?

    1. @Margy Houtz, Thank you, oh magic one. And yes, I’m planning a future post summing up what I’ve learned about cooking in retirement, and I’ll include the recipe since I can lay claim to it.

  14. LOLsob, as they say on Twitter: I am rushing so much, and so far behind, that it took me until today to notice your post. But I’m so glad I found it; so beautifully written, and so very resonant, for me. Thank you.

    1. @Dawn, Thank you! I am thinking I should experiment to see how much “garden” I could get out of one container planting. Not everyone has the space for a real garden.:(

  15. I just joined a class on “Living with Simplicity” (Ironic that we have to LEARN simplicity?!?), and it’s already made a difference in my level of observation this week. I was walking down a country road with a frien, when I was enveloped in the scent of grapes. They were all around us on the sides of the road, growing wild. The smell brought to mind fresh grape jam and immediately, I felt grateful.

  16. Coincidentally, in a week full of extreme busyness that I was resolved to get through, smile pasted on, I fell ill. Nothing serious, just a fever-y cold, but a reminder that we often can’t, and shouldn’t, will our way through a ridiculous schedule. I should have learned this by now.

    Bravo to this post! I let everything drop, and will think carefully about what I pick up again.

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