One Foot in Front of the Other

I’m picturing life like a highway lately.

High speeds, so many cars passing, except the cars are people on their own journeys. Sometimes, there are so many, going so fast, you can’t make out the details – what’s that on the bumper? What is the true color of the car next to you?

I’m thinking it’s time to slow down and make the journey the destination.

A friend got engaged over the weekend and I ‘liked’ the announcement on Facebook. At the same time, I mourned the loss of my grandmother. Family members fell sick and got well, came into town and left town, played games and cleaned up the pieces of those games.

And at the same time people in my life were flying to Mexico and flying home from Mexico and going to the grocery and taking an online exam and watching football on the familiar couch with their kids.

My husband is out of town this week on business, so it’s just me and the three kiddos. The way it was before I met Dan, when I was the divorced mom of three and the house was just us, hugging close, intimate over dinner every night, laundry a mission to accomplish every day.

I am grateful for these turns of time, to remember the simplicity of just getting it done. Last night, I finished the many mountains of laundry, folded and put away, and I felt a supreme sense of triumph. When Dan came into our lives and into my laundry room, I lost that sense of satisfaction in the little things that become so important.

We are packing the house  up slowly, rediscovering and “finding” things in every room as we fill the boxes. On Thursday, I finally found the book I’d written about my grandmother 21 years ago. I’d been looking for it all year, but only after she left this life did I find it on the top shelf of my home office closet, waiting for me to leaf through pages and hear her voice again.

That’s what happens when we give ourselves the gift of slowing down and getting clear. Simplifying is something we talk about all the time but don’t do until we’re forced to. 

What would I have done this past weekend had my grandmother not left us? Shopped, for sure. Stolen moments of work in between moments of kids. Muscled over the Thanksgiving and Chanukah cooking. 

Instead, I had the gift of silence and of resonance and of legacy. I went for a run and did yoga every day of the weekend, taking care of myself, because it seemed like the best thing I could do. Why don’t I do that in day-to-day life? Why play the martyr, any of us?

It was probably the biggest gift my grandmother gave me: time and focus. She always said, wagging a finger, with love of course, “You do too much.” When she was alive, I shook it off, thinking, what does she know? I can handle it.

But boy was she right. They always are. We hear the messages we need to hear even if we don’t listen to them.

So in the wake of her passing, I pledge to try to take her advice. She said it to me so many times over the course of my life, and I wish I would have asked her how she did it all without stressing out or feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps I am idolizing her; that’s my right as a grandchild.

I’m just determined now to live her legacy in peace and prosperity, with focus and clarity, just as she would have it. The biggest gift we can give ourselves, our families, our generations to come.

Last summer, Dan and I drove to Wisconsin for a yoga festival. We drove, drove, drove to get there, trained on the vision of the end point – not the journey.

On the way home, we passed an exit with a sign for the Angel Museum. Curious, I googled to see if it was open on Sunday. Nope. And then I felt it, the wish that we could have just driven for the sake of discovery, given ourselves the gift of time to get off at an exit because the Angel Museum sounded pretty cool.

I am hoping I can rectify this in years and journeys to come. Turn off at interesting signs, instead of speeding past. 

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