I remember many years ago when I was deep into the juggling mothering phase of life with my four kids. Back then, I was the only driver and their lives were filled up with games, lessons and play dates. Sometimes I would wake in the early morning, anxiously trying to figure out how I could cross town and get 2 kids where they needed to go within the same hour. One of my oldest friends who was going through menopause at the time, called and shared with me her frustration with managing the details of life. She said, “I can’t even take care of a houseplant.” I couldn’t imagine this space in the midst of my multi-tasking, mind mapping kid chauffeur service.
Ten years seems like a long time looking forward, but the beauty of age, is that it seems like a moment looking back. That’s why sometimes I mis-remember where my kids are in life. Memories of who they were much younger filter into my thoughts of them unbidden and I have to remind myself where in time we are and who they are. I rarely drive them around now, each of them with their own courses set and yet, the houseplant comment came back to me yesterday in full force when I looked up and realized I had just about killed my own house plant from lack of watering.
I am not tracking well, even though in relative terms, I have way less to track. I don’t even consider multi-tasking an option anymore. My attention and concentration is a precious resource that I allocate with much more care, although it still hasn’t taught me to imagine less or to commit to doing fewer things. That is probably next- culling the essential from all the day-to-day tasks. It feels like a loss at times and then when the emotions are settled, it is just the color of things. It is the reality of life moving forward, this experience of standing still.
It isn’t really standing still. There is an arc to life that no matter how you play the game will not be cheated. We all grow into the fullness of our life at whatever stage we get there and then watch it recede. All of the capacity and accomplishment we cultivate in the growing up, becomes the release. Moving forward it happens so slowly and so incrementally that we can deny its truth. But looking back, it is clear, if only by the prescription of our readers what has been released.