Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rush


I noticed it first in my retired father. This low level anxiety when we were travelling together. The constant flipping of the wrist to look at his watch.

"C'mon, c'mon," he'd say, "Look lively there!"

"What's your rush, Da?"

And then I'd get a variant of the following:

"We need to find a hotel for the night."

"We don't know where the restaurant is."

"The ferry could leave early"

and then the best clincher of all:

"We don't want to be late."

Late. When we had no definite plans. When our hotel rooms would yawn at us vacantly as we entered them. When we were two hours early for a tour somewhere or one hour early for a lunch reservation and had to hang around in the lobby like transients.

I noticed this manufactured rush in a retired friend of mine when I was back in Ireland. This low level anxiety, the pacing, the impatience, the circling of the car and flashing of the wrist watch. When there were absolutely no definite plans in place and we were technically free as birds with no time constraints. It is easy to say 'ignore it'. But I can't. I pick up on the vibration and I find it stressful. As if I, with my slow packing or toothbrushing, is holding him back from something really important that must be attended to.

And the grand finale of all of this is usually just hanging about, killing time.

I am ever watchful I haven't inherited the Da's gene. Then again, I threw away my last watch over twenty years ago. Best thing I ever did.

14 comments:

  1. God bless you for writing this post!
    We are recently retired - 6 months and counting. Yes, yes. There is some underlying anxiety that both my husband and I have begun to experience. While we both are enjoying learning to relax and enjoy our life so much more, we have, in the last month or so, begun to ask each other "what's do I feel so edgy about"? Yes, it's a real feeling that sits somehwere in the recess or core. You have shed the light on this new mystery for me. It's so strange, really. Very, very silent but nevertheless . . .
    Thank you for this gift of awareness. There is always some new obstacle to meditate on ande then let go of.

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  2. Hi Paula:
    I've only be able to speculate as to what it's all about - perhaps an awareness of Death and if we run hard and fast enough He won't catch up?
    Or when retired from busy lives, a Daytimer packed with activity, some can't relax and cliche themselves into smelling the roses?
    It is very curious and I wonder if someone can throw some light on it?
    XO
    WWW

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  3. I was afraid that you were going to say that you were doing the same thing now too. As far as I can tell, you're not the kind of person who would. I hope I never become so myself. I'd hate to live with that kind of unnecessary stress. I hope I will always be the opposite. Good for you for having gotten rid of your watch. I'm not that brave yet. I don't have a car with a clock in it.

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  4. Nora:
    It is funny when one throws away a watch (I've checked with others who have done the same thing).
    One builds up an innate sense of the time, whether through subtle outward signs (traffic, light) or an inner knowledge.
    I can always tell the time within ten minutes.
    It is remarkably freeing without that wrist constraint.
    XO
    WWW

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  5. I've always had this thing about time. I hate to be late to the point that I'm always early, which is more rude than being late.
    I hope this doesn't get worse when I retire.

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  6. It's part of the whole modern culture, isn't it, this assumption that we have to be on the move, getting somewhere, achieving something. Why? Why can't we just take the time to savour whatever life puts in front of us? Most of the frantic activity achieves precisely nothing except anxiety.

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  7. Marcia:
    Oh I am stickler for timely appointments and being there on time when meeting someone.
    It is the meaningless rush to meet a non-existent deadline that is so insane!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Nick:
    And I also believe it contributes to high blood pressure and heart problems and possible stroke.
    People seem unable to slow down.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. I understand this feeling. I think it's a need to avoid stress and be in control. I like to get to airports way in advance. This drives my children crazy, at least the ones who operate on the last possible minute principle. But I try to be reasonable and moderate my tendency to want to be early for every appointment. Now that I am quite old I find that at the end of the day I am tired and dislike lingering any place that is far from the bed. I know that's hard on younger folks.

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  10. I think you have thrown a light on it Anne. The need to be in control and also the element of being tired and needing to be close to the bed. Perhaps feeling 'beyond it'. Losing that bloom of youth and endlessness.
    thanks for your insight.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. I am like your Da. I like to be on time for everything and also be prepared before starting off on any undertaking, like making and confirming reservations, making return arrangements etc. Traits that were driven into me by a life time spent traveling on business. I find it automatic now despite being in retirement.

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  12. i am somewhere in between your da and you. i try very hard (when i am not at work, and am ruled by the clock) to ENJOY THE MOMENT. don't look ahead. but it's very hard.

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  13. Ramana:
    So what happened to it's all in the journey and never the destination?
    I agree with you, I am rigourous when it comes to making reservations and return arrangement but in between I just love to go where the wind blows me (have made some of the most memorable trips of my life that way) when there are no time constraints.
    XO
    WWW

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  14. Laurie:
    Yes, we don't allow ourselves the time to be, we are all so busy doing.
    XO
    WWW

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