Stop and Look at the Roses

If Ringo could do it, so can you

If Ringo could do it, so can you

I am sitting in front of two students and I am holding a pen above a class register and I am not moving. I am squinting into the recesses of my brain, past what I want for lunch, beyond the reason I was irritated with my boss this morning, through the frustrations of finding a plot hole in a book I’ve been writing for two years.

And then I find it: the date. “Oh yeah,” I say to the students. And then I write down May 4 on the sheet.

And then I say: “Oh my God! It’s May. How in the world did that happen?”

I have taken up lots of hobbies as I spiral into happy old age. One of those things is searching my brain for why I walked into a room or what I was about to say. I have now attached sounds and groans to simple acts like standing up and sitting down. Moreover, I can easily while away an afternoon talking about how much time flies.

Cause it does.

In one of those rare cases that we all see eye to eye, the students couldn’t agree more. We discuss why it happens and then I send them to the internet to look it up and prepare a short summary from what they find.

Everything they find about why time seems to fly makes sense and is logical.

Things go by in a flash because we aren’t really “present.” Adults often fall into a blind daily routine and so this results in us not noticing things in our daily lives. Time can sort of warp when we have less input, and this is why an afternoon spent watching old movie favorites can go in a second and often with little recollection of the events.

Time slips by in a minute.

I am so guilty of the example infractions that I almost give my forehead a good palm smack. I can spend a whole night watching sitcoms I have seen a hundred times. I look up at the clock during undesirable activities or meetings. I have a routine set to minute.

I have long been aware of mindfulness and have tried to apply it in my life. Ideally. And at times I can. But it’s so easy – for me, anyway – to slip into a routine of quiet and relaxing activities in the guise of keeping life simple and mellow. Sitcoms are easier than a new movie because I don’t have to pay attention. Not going out on a Tuesday night is better than meeting a friend because I’ll get more sleep. I keep my eyes ahead and don’t look around because I am on my way to work and I guess my brain is already there. Or somewhere else. I’ll notice things more in the summer.

But I won’t.

I make a little list of things to do in order to try and keep myself out of my 70s in ten minutes. That list:

  1. Watch only new things. No reruns.
  2. Make a note of three things in each room you go into and in each class.
  3. Involve one new thing (place, person, route) everyday.

Who knows if it’ll work? But at least I’ll probably find a new pub or two.

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