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.