Tag: instant gratification

The Lost Art of Making Do

When I can, I walk with The Ladies in the mornings. They range in age from sixties to early eighties. We walk up and down the dirt road, two miles in all. It allows lots of time for conversation. Many of them have lived in this tiny town most, if not all, their lives. They talk about the stuff of life, matter-of-fact, and do not dwell on the big questions. They are not blind to the big questions, far from it, but they think that if they pay attention to the details, the big questions will take care of themselves.

It is refreshing to be around them. No one talks about being unfulfilled—they are mostly retired from their jobs as factory workers or assistants, but even if they were still working, you get the feeling they wouldn’t complain. Be grateful to have a job, they would say; work at it earnestly and honestly and treat people the way you would like to be treated.

There is a simple honesty to the life of making do with what you have that is lost in our age of instant gratification. We want more because there is more—it is shoved at us so relentlessly that we have forgotten we have the choice to decide our own happiness.

The Ladies have mastered the art of being content.

ladies on road

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Waiting for Amaryllis

I’ve been watching my amaryllis grow flower stalks for, jeez, it seems like a month now. They emerged from the awakening bulbs after a month of dormancy and slowly, slowly inched upwards. They are about two feet tall now and the blossom ends are teasing me with the promise of spectacular blooms—someday. Perhaps the sixty degree nights in my house are making them prevaricate. Perhaps I’ve got languid bulbs. Perhaps I am just desperate for the juicy life of spring. But whatever it is and no matter how much I want them to bloom faster, instant gratification in this particular matter is not going to happen. They’ll bloom when they’re ready.

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail. It was a missive from my neighbor responding to a note I had sent her. In my note, I had given her my phone number so she could answer my invitation in a timelier manner. But she chose to write another note back instead. It was wonderful! I felt like I was in Downton Abbey. This languid pace of correspondence rejuvenates me. It gives a body time to reflect, to re-read, to exhale.

So I watch my pokey amaryllis, I re-read the note, brushing my fingers over the paper and I marvel at the civility and space each has created for me in this hurry-up world. The waiting, I find, has a nourishment all its own.

2015-01-22 23.20.20

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