• 46°

As time goes by

Sometimes, I just get so frustrated with the pace of life. Half the year is almost gone, and I was just thinking the other day it was January. I am pulled in 14 different directions daily, and my kids are growing up too fast. They are finding their own sense of self and, along with that, the attitude of “Mom doesn’t know everything” used with that tone of voice that kills. Subconsciously, they are saying, “Yes, this is my obnoxious voice, and I am no longer afraid to use it on you!”

I have decided that I am not as thin as I would like to be, I am not as happy as I should be, my house is messier than it ever has been and what the heck are age spots doing mingling with my “freckles” on my hands? I find myself actually anxious about how fast time is flying. I always feel like if I could just stop long enough I could get a breath; rarely happens.

As a child, I was truly care-free. Summer days lingered and years seemed to take forever to go by. I remember thinking I was never going to be a grownup. Now, here I am, and I am fighting tooth and nail not to be labeled a grownup. If they know what’s best for them, AARP and its spokesmen had better not come knocking anytime soon. I am no longer the youngest person in a room or on a committee. I worry that I am settling into a middle-age spread. Time is going too quickly.
But, how can that be? When I think of myself, and when I look in the mirror, I still see the young teenager I once was. Of course, there are some wrinkles on her face, but that must just be poor lighting. Sometimes my inner child shines through and lights up the darkness, I feel carefree and joyous. It just doesn’t happen as often anymore, most likely because I am running in too many directions and doing too many things and running myself down.

I told someone the other day I was officially old enough to say “No” to someone and not worry about being grounded. I need to practice my polite “No, sorry I can’t do that” voice and not be afraid to use it! If I don’t, this pulling to and fro and fast-pace life will get the better of me.

When I was a child, my grandfather had a picture hanging in his library. It was of Christopher Robin — holding his bear by the foot — going down a staircase. The image had hung on the wall of my grandfather’s office at McGraw Hill from sometime in the early 1940s until he retired when it made its way to the library wall. I used to sit and stare at it and try to figure it out, the words that accompanied the image never made much sense to me. My grandfather never explained it to me. He just would say, when he caught me gazing, “It has always helped me keep perspective.”

When he died, I claimed it and hung it over my computer. It reads, “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now bump, bump, bump on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”

I am now old enough to understand it, and relate to it.

So, if you found yourself in any of these words, nodding in agreement, I am on a mission and you are welcome to join me. I am going to stop bumping long enough to figure out another way. Who’s with me?!

A Yankee with a Southern soul, Gillian Pollock is a wife, mother of two ever-challenging children and director of Christian Formation at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.