For those of you who know me well, I am driven to stay busy. That doesn't necessarily mean doing meaningless things to fill up time (although sometime I do that, too), but I was raised with several old sayings like, "Idle hands are the devil's workshop," and "A rolling stone gathers no moss." My parents were very hard workers and instilled that work ethic in all their children. My former husband I instilled that in our children. Growing up, if there was spare time, that's when we did embroidery, crocheted, read or in my dad's case, built things in the garage. There was no TV until I was in my early teens.
This morning I dropped by to see my friends Gene and Pat at the library and they were teasing me about how I'm never home--I'm so busy. I teased back and said, "It's summer and I realize how much stuff I have to cram in before I return to work next week." But then I remembered one of the real reasons. Time is running out and I'm trying to outrun death. My window for being really physically active is growing smaller. I see trying to outrun death as a positive, not a negative thing, but I've long been a student of Jung's shadow work. I've got to embrace my dark along with the light. I love to be out and about, with friends--or I'm quite comfortable being all alone, and sometimes I long for solitude. I will admit that I am driven when it comes to trying to help the world be a better place in small ways, or maybe it's just that I need to be needed. I must give service. But, it's rare to see me as a lounge lizard, I'll admit, unless I'm reading, doing art, journaling, or watching movies on TV. I'm a multi-tasker by nature. I do try to have quiet meditative time in short bursts each day, but I am a busy person by nature.
Dr. Drew Leder, M.D., Ph.D. has a book I love, "Spiritual Passages: Embracing Life's Sacred Journey." I'm currently reading Fr. Richard Rohr's "Falling Upward" and both books are about growing older. This Leder quote below really speaks to me today.
Time is both a thief and a generous soul. It can steal from us things of great value, yet lavish precious gifts in return.
For there are gifts of the ripened mind, heart, and spirit. As we grow older, we may finally grow up—attain the maturity that’s always eluded us. We may also grow younger at heart. There’s a wildness and a freedom buried inside us beneath layers of social convention. Why not let it loose? Why not play?
Then, too, maybe the fears that have bedeviled us—of our past mistakes, of death hurtling toward us from the indeterminate future—will finally disperse as we age. We can stand in the present, serene. Maybe the driven pace of our lives, whipping us about like a drunken merry-go-round, will finally slacken. We can rest inside. We can be alone with ourselves in a spirit of joyful solitude, not self-crushing loneliness.