Thursday, February 5, 2009
To be young again.....
My father always told me 2 things....
-If you want to look thin, hang out with girls that are fatter than you.
-The best part of your life is when you are a little child and those are the days you forget the most. You have to try not to lose those memories.
I never did too good with the fat girls thing. It wasn't because I was intentionally trying to be rebellious. It just happened that way. As for the memories of my childhood...that's another story. Sometimes those memories just come to me. And when they do....I smile. Funny thing, they are coming to me more regularly....now that I'm 50. Do you think it's my subconscious somehow forcing me into reflecting on those memories for fear that I will lose them...just as my father said? Or, is it that I'm finally heeding my father's advice because I GET IT....now that I'm 50? Oh, the questions that plague me....now that I'm 50.
We live a few blocks from a little elementary school. On the days that I desperately need a Starbucks Chai Latte with an energy shot, the route I take to work is the same route as many of the children take to school. Yesterday...since I desperately needed a Starbucks Chai Latte with an energy shot, I had to drive that way. As I sat in traffic, I watched the children as they made their way to school. They were all bundled up in their parkas, scarves, hats and mittens, carrying their full back packs....running to school. Some of them in a slow gallop, others in a little sprint and still others racing along. I checked my watch to see if all the running was caused by the fact that these kids were late. Nope. As a matter of fact, they were early.
Why are they running? Why would they run if they aren't late? That's the only reason I would run....especially in the dead of winter wearing layers and layers of clothes! Even then, I wouldn't run!
Imagine....running to get somewhere? Am I so old that I can't remember that feeling energy and exhurberance? Hell, I don't even get that kind of kick from my chai lattes with energy shots!
So, what's the hurry?
Then, I remembered.....
We used to take a short cut through the alley at the top of our hill to get to school. It was a route that our mothers prohibited us to take. But, it was a short cut! So, we took it. Now that I think about it, it did not shave off that much time. And, to be quite honest, it was not that nice of a trip. It was an alley way that snaked through several streets...part of it was paved, part of it was mud, part of it was tree lined, other parts were just the backs of garages. It was filled with potholes and weeds, broken glass and litter. It would have been much easier and just as time conscious as walking the regular path to school. But, all of us kids on Dwight Avenue would do it. In fact, we would plan to "take the alley". The short cut. We were always looking for a quicker way to get to where we were going. Even if it was getting to school. And, to think---we were hurrying at a time in our life when we had so much time. Just like those kids who were running to school. We had the energy, the will and the ability to get to where we were going....in lightning speed. It was a race to the finish. We didn't walk...we ran. We looked for short cuts. Because we had so much to do. But, we didn't realize we had so much time to do it. The slow pokes and the kids who took the main streets must have understood that. They must have been older than their years.
Today is my father's 88th birthday. He's much slower than he used to be. But, I doubt he's worried by it. In fact, I'll bet he wants to slow time down even more. He's not rushing to get anywhere. He doesn't want to take the short cuts. He'd rather take the longer route. He's not running or galloping or even sprinting. There's no reason. And, nature made it so that he can't. Slowness is perhaps a gift that comes with age just as impatience and energy are the gifts of youth.
So, in honor of my dear father's birthday....I am going to ask each of you to recall those special moments of your youth. Put it all in slow motion. Savour each moment. Don't run through it. And, don't take any short cuts. Because the best part of your life is when you are a little child and those are the days you forget the most. You have to try not to lose those memories. That's what my dad said.
Happy Birthday Dad!!!