"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Seeing the Future, Again

The days are getting shorter. Already. Less than a month ago, I could wake up to fairly bright sunlight at 5:00 a.m. but now it is still dark, outside. If you look at weather maps this time of year, you’ll start to see cold fronts begin to dip down through Canada, occasionally touching on the northern edges of the United States. Where I live, we still have plenty of heat in store for us in August and much of September but you can’t let that fool you - autumn is already well on the march.

I got my first quilt magazine of the year that has fall patterns inside it. The colors are subdued, homespuns figure prominently. That seems wrong! I know that if we want to get fall quilts done by the fall we have to start now, but it is still disturbing. At the same time, it is a little comforting. It reminds me that much of life is predictable and just about the time you are ready for a change, one WILL come along.

All this reminds me that if we aren’t paying attention, we are likely to live in a constant state of reaction. It doesn’t seem, to me, to be an efficient way to handle your life. Sure, you can’t possibly always know when life is going to throw you a curve but one of the best advantages of age is that you should have figured out how things are likely to work themselves out and plan accordingly.

Simple case in point – how many of us have stood behind someone in the grocery store line and when their total is rung up, they get a surprised look and only then start to look through their purse for (invariably) their checkbook. Did it not occur to them that at the end of the sale, money or its equivalent will need to change hands? (And experience tells me that following the exchange, they are then going to stand there and carefully balance their checkbook while the rest of us wait). It is not the end of the world but if it is so predictable to the rest of us, why doesn’t the buyer also have insight into the likely outcome of the process? I’d say they were just being inconsiderate but from the look of surprise on their face when asked to pay, I think it is just a lack of thinking ahead.

But then, many of us live in denial. I look around me and see elderly women with wrinkled, frail bodies and faces – but remain flabbergasted that my own body is not immune. We see our parents and grandparents fall ill and/or pass away and this can be such a frightening concept that we pretend we will be different.

The flip side is that when we experience something for the first time – a baby’s first step, first love, first home, first career success, first time you paid your own way, etc., it is so exhilarating. Those are wonderful surprises/achievements, even if utterly predictable to the old hides among us.

As a parent, I am constantly, pleasantly “surprised” when my kids display the maturity, wisdom, responsibility, and overall accountability that comes with being a successful adult. I should not be surprised because they were all good children and this is the predictable outcome. All the same, that life is marching on at a predictable pace still catches me by surprise.

I may be regularly surprised by life even when I shouldn't, but I promise you, I have my money ready to pay before my groceries are totaled up. The day I start forgetting to do that, I am getting on some sort of medication.

7 comments:

Jacquie said...

School starts in two weeks here. Where did the summer go? I noticed the sumac at the farm was starting to change, subtle, but a definitely sign that fall is coming soon. Great post by the way. So true..living by reaction.

Holee said...

I sure can remember the days when I wanted to just get out of the store with my groceries.

As life passes things slow down. Sometimes I don't get to talk to anyone for days so even with my bank card in my hand, I might hold up the line while I chat to the clerk or the customer behind me.

I remember the days when grocery stores took the time to wrap your ice cream in a foil bag, department stores wrapped your purchase in tissue paper and put it in a pretty paper bag with the store logo on it. If something was hanging off you ear it was a hearing aid, not your phone.

I wonder why everyone is in such a hurry to get out of where they are only to go to another place to hurry and get out of it?

It must be age when you become only responsible and accountable to yourself. I think all this slow down is why grandma's have time to explain why you have wrinkles in your hand or why a grasshopper hops on tress and not grass.

Living south of Lake Erie, fall will come all too soon!

Stephanie D. said...

I am a contradiction to myself. On the one hand, I am a planner with lists of things that need to be accomplished, and most of the time, I do them. I don't leave my cart in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store while I pull something off the shelf. I have already begun to plan my Halloween theme and hunt yard sales for supplies.

On the other hand, I still haven't finished my 2005 taxes and there are Christmas quilts and wall-hangings I didn't start last year, and haven't pulled out to look at yet this year, much less start on Christmas gifts. It's not like Christmas falls on a different day every year.

Nope, I'm Cancer, not Gemini.

Stephanie D. said...

I am a contradiction to myself. On the one hand, I am a planner with lists of things that need to be accomplished, and most of the time, I do them. I don't leave my cart in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store while I pull something off the shelf. I have already begun to plan my Halloween theme and hunt yard sales for supplies.

On the other hand, I still haven't finished my 2005 taxes and there are Christmas quilts and wall-hangings I didn't start last year, and haven't pulled out to look at yet this year, much less start on Christmas gifts. It's not like Christmas falls on a different day every year.

Nope, I'm Cancer, not Gemini.

Penny said...

Most of us in a hurry at the grocery store have a list a mile long of things we have to do and standing in line is time that stuff is not getting done, unfortunately. Hard to manage a full-time job and everything else that goes with life and keeping up a home. Still, it sure is easier than it used to be when the kids were little.

Nancy said...

Very though provoking post Penny. I am afraid I am guilty of reacting. I have my lists, in fact, we are leaving for vacation on Thursday and I have a list on the table right now. It needs to be expanded on (it has been expanded in my mind). If I don't expand it on paper, we will get to SC and I won't have something I need desperately (like the coffee pot) or dh will arrive home from work early Thursday, saying "Ready to go?" and I will still be frantically throwing things into the truck or camper. This always results in a period of growling and snarling on both our parts until we are well underway. Have warned the daughters we are not doing that this trip. We WILL be ready to go or will do without! I'm interested to see how that plan works for me! :-) Especially since here I sit at the computer, playing at blog reading! OK, coffee is done, I'm moving!

Perry said...

Too many people, too little courtesy, too much "me", constant bombardment of noise, that is the world we live in. I liked it better when it wasn't that way, lol.