I vaguely, but barely, remember the details of those days. But, I vividly remember feeling that my life was like a series of amusement park rides. The ups and downs of a roller coaster, the round and round we go, but getting nowhere, of a carousel. I was always dragging and tired to the bone. There was never enough time.
I thought about those times the other day after I left my doctor’s office. I like my doctor. She’s young, probably in her late 40’s. She’s married with two small children. She’s pretty with blond hair and caring blue eyes. At my appointments, she never seems in a rush. She will sit down, eye level with me and intently listen.
I’ve had doctors who come buzzing in the room, fire questions at me and don’t even look up when I answer. They say, “okay” and mutter “uh huh”. And after the allotted time granted to me, usually a mere 4-5 minutes, it’s “Take two of these and see the front desk for your next appointment,” as they rush out the door.
But not my doctor, she’s definitely not like that. At that last appointment, though, when she came into the exam room, she didn’t greet me with her usual smile and the “I’m so glad to see you” look. It was obvious to me that she was exhausted. She told me that she hadn’t had time that day to get outside for that breath of fresh air that always perks her up and gets her ready for her afternoon appointments.
Apparently, she had had a bad morning. I thought to myself, this woman needs a vacation, a good and long vacation.
A few days later, when I went to my hair dresser, I thought again about those past times when I felt as though I needed a good and long vacation. I like my hairdresser. She is the owner of a busy salon. She’s about my age and is a natural born schmoozer. Even though I am not a regular client, I see her about three times a year for a hair cut, she remembers who I am. I can tell that by the questions she asks me. She always spends a lot of time on my hair. But this day, there was quite a definite audible sigh at the end of her question, “So what are we doing with you hair today, Lyn?” Oh, she tried her best to muster up some enthusiasm, but it just wasn’t working. I thought to myself, this woman needs to close up shop.
I am constantly amazed by the grueling schedule that my daughter, her husband and their three small children have to adhere to. It leaves them with very little free time.
I don’t know where my daughter-in-law summons up the energy she needs to dedicate herself to a demanding full time job, keep up, as a single mom, with an energetic 3-1/2 year old and among other things, train for a marathon.
I am impressed by the way my son fits in time to be with his boys as he works an unforgiving 11:30 - 8:00 shift.
When I take a look at all of these situations, I am reminded of the time of my amusement park life. I have to wonder if it was worth it. Oh, sure, that is the way of this life. We certainly have to earn our living.
When I reflect back, though, I can’t help but ask myself if there could have been some other way.
I clearly remember the exact moment that I decided that I had had enough.
It was Thanksgiving Day, 2001. Just a few short months after September 11, 2001. I was hosting dinner for my family. The table was set. The turkey was brown and juicy. The last of the fixin’s were ready to be served. Everyone was seated. Just as I sat down, my work beeper went off.
I was on call. I spent the next four hours on my computer trouble shooting a problem. Was it a life or death issue? Not even close. One of the executives was not receiving his e-mail.
There are times, I admit, when I think I may have retired too soon.
I remember something my father always used to say…”Where are you going?” I realized on that Thanksgiving day of 2001 just what he meant by that.
So no, I have not one regret of my decision to retire from life’s loop-de-loop.
I appreciate most of every minute of the serenity of my precious time. Cause after all, “where am I going?”
What about you? Where are you going?