all of the selves we Have ever been
“Don’t wish your life away.”
You might recall that was one of my mother’s famous sayings.
I caused her to utter those words often due to my incessant wishing: “I wish it was summer.” “I wish school would start.” “I wish the school year was over.” “I wish it was Friday.” “I wish it was Christmas.” “I wish I was in high school.” “I wish I was in college.” “I wish I had my own apartment.” I wish…I wish…I wish…
Weary of what I had, and tired of waiting, I was always eager for what was to come.
I have to admit, despite my mother’s repeated advice, I continue trying to speed things up by wishing, particularly now. Dare I say it? I wish this pandemic was over. I know that I am not the only one, but it doesn’t seem to matter that billions of people are making the same wish. The pandemic is on its own schedule just like the school year and the seasons of my childhood.
My mom isn’t here to say, “Don’t wish your life away.” Today, people don’t use that expression. Instead, they say, “Be present,” or “Live in the moment.” So, I will try.
I review the recent months of sheltering in place and social distancing. To my surprise, many of my other wishes have been granted.
I’ve made peace with my thinning, greying hair. That scraggly, striped COVID style gave me perspective. Months of staying home and saving time on hair care has made me a freer woman. I’ve also grown comfortable leaving the house without make-up. I may continue wearing a mask even when it is no longer mandated!
After years filled with hectic days and regret at losing touch with old friends, I now speak to them at least once a week, sometimes daily! We never run out of things to talk about, not even in a pandemic.
I’ve read more books, and not just nonfiction to keep up with my professional work. I enjoy novels, and discussions about novels, and trading novels the way I once shared Nancy Drew books with my girlfriends.
For the first time since childhood, I’ve slept in a time or two. And, like a princess, I eat my breakfast in bed every morning. When I was a child, I had to be sick to enjoy such a pleasure. Now, I am completely healthy and in no hurry.
I’ve prayed more, and my prayers have been answered. All my needs have been met. I have learned to live on less because I have needed less. And I am grateful.
I’ve walked more and spent more time admiring nature. When I walk, my mind is free. I am not thinking about the paperwork that needs to be turned in by midnight or the dinner in the crockpot. I listen to the call of the birds and notice the beautiful leaves that look like a ring of candy corn around the edges of the parking lot.
I now recognize my neighbors, even the new ones, and we speak when we pass. I see children playing outdoors again and zipping past me on their bicycles.
I treasure every phone call, every piece of snail mail, every email, and every text message. I am even happy to hear from Big Lots and Bob Evans Restaurant.
I have fallen in love with our national treasure, PBS, and I have been enlightened in unexpected ways by the beautiful storytelling, lively music, and insightful reporting.
Via email, I trade links to favorite songs with a new friend who lives far away. It is better than trading baseball cards or stock market tips! Once again, music fills me up the way it did when I was a teenager and music was food.
My mother said, “Don’t wish your life away.” She also said, “Be careful what you wish for,” suggesting that wishing is complicated and potentially dangerous.
Well, Mom, I have finished high school and college, and I did get my own apartment. That all worked out.
I have lived to see my children finish high school and college. They now live in their own apartments. Despite a pandemic, many other wishes have been granted. So far, the odds have been in my favor.
Dare I make another wish?