Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Moving Right Along

Back to School ads are being broadcast on American television, and I've just sent sympathy cards to all my teacher friends.

When school lets out in June, those three free months stretch out in front of us like an endless sea of days. We make all kinds of fabulous promises to ourselves - we vow to read all of Dostoyevsy's novels, paint the next American Gothic, cook gourmet meals each night, learn conversational Japanese, and lose 15 pounds in the bargain. Then, in the blink of an eye, it's August, and Target, Walmart and Office Depot are inviting us all in for spiral notebooks, crayons, calculators, and pens.

(At this point, I could easily turn this into a post about how much I love office supplies - and what writer doesn't? I can spend hours wandering the aisles in the office supply deparment, testing the smoothness of all the pens, feeling the weight of paper in the notebooks...ok, ok, enough! )

What I really started to write about was time - how it flees from us all, teachers, parents, gardeners, accountants, every mortal soul who finds time slipping away faster and faster with each passing day of their life.

If you think back to your childhood, I bet summer really seemed endless, didn't it? I grew up in one of those baby boomer neighborhoods, and nearly every house on our block had at least 5 kids (except for me, of course, the odd "only child" in the bunch!) From dawn to dusk we roamed the streets, riding bikes, playing various ball games, reading books, jumping into the pool...all the fun stuff that kids should do in the summer. It seemed like summer lasted a lifetime, and when September finally rolled around, I was usually ready to go back to the routine of school.

As a young parent, summer was also a respite for me. My son, bless his little heart, always hated school with a passion akin to the Bush family's for Saddam Hussein. So I looked forward to summer in those days, as a time when he was (finally!) happy and able to relax. Unlike most parents of school age children, I was never very happy to see September roll around, because I knew he would again have demons to face, and I was always facing those demons with him.

By the time he was grown, I was again enmeshed in the school year calendar because of my job in the high school. I consider myself really fortunate in my part time position, because I don't work every day. Nevertheless, when the school year starts, life gets a lot more hectic for me. It adds another two work days to my weekly schedule, as well as at least one work night per week. Not to mention trying to juggle the concerts and special events that always occur in the music deparment. Come September, my life definitely gets turned up at least two notches! So I look forward to June, July, and August as a time to slow down a little and catch up on "things."

Well, here it is, August 9, 2006. I can remember writing this post as if it were yesterday - no, as if it were earlier this morning! The older I get, the faster time goes. Rabbi Israel ben Eiezer, the founder of Hasidic Judaism wrote this:

Live in the present.
Do the things that need to be done.
Do all the good you can each day.
The future will unfold.
Who can argue with this as a mission statement for life, no matter how fast your personal time might be flying by? Because the future does unfold, and very rapidly too, like it or not. So, back to school, here we come. Let's hope we can do "all the good we can each day."


Blogger bella said...

Nobody can argue with those words. I will copy and paste them. They need to be written on my desktop as a constant reminder.

Blogger paris parfait said...

Wise words. As for time, whether it's summer or any other time, it goes much too fast these days! Always too many ideas, too little time to accomplish them. I like school/office supplies too - anything to do with writing. Your post is lovely - especially the part about sending sympathy cards to your teacher friends. My mom was a teacher so I know what that's like. :)

Blogger Star said...

Many good intentions never come to fruition; it is the nature of the Summer beast.

I couldn't help smiling at your description of summertime when you were growing up. I don't think kids these days really notice much difference between the school year and summer because a seamless transition is made from overscheduling extracurricular activities during the school year to over-overscheduling extracurricular activities during the summer. I would take our carefree, make-your-own fun summers any day.

I went back and read your intentions at the beginning of summer; how have you done on your list?

Blogger Tammy said...

I really wish it would slow down a tad more too :) Good luck...deep breaths ;)

Blogger Madeleine said...

i hate how the summer rushes by...i sometimes feel i just need to stop and pause and soak it all in for a moment. just feel the moment and stop projecting. life is just a whirlwind of time sometimes, and how true that it speeds up the older we become.

Blogger bb said...

but we've still got three weeks left, right? phew, i thought it was all over for a minute then ;-)

Blogger susanlavonne said...

I certainly remember when you posted at the beginning of summer vacation too...where on earth has the time gone?
Well, at least it will be easier to sneak some lunch time and get back to commenting again.
I do hope your year goes splendidly!
(Oh, and I do love the sympathy card idea :-)


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