This year I made no resolutions. Oh, I quit my personal trainer in favor of yoga and walking, but that wasn’t a resolution. Just an action.
Instead I chose a word for the year. Immediately I’m a little embarrassed, I mean, that is not a High WASP behavior. Where’s the delayed gratification in a word, where’s the achievement? But it’s absolutely Californian and besides it’s working.
Funny story. I stumbled, somewhere, on a suggestion to do a five-day choose-a-word-for-the-new-year-exercise with Susannah Conway. “Why not?” I thought. I finished the first day, and maybe the second, but then I got totally impatient and picked my word without finishing the program. How is that funny?
The word was, and is, “Unhurried.” Just writing it now slows my breath.
I’ve said it before, I used to be good at the hurry. I had good eyesight – I could see where I was going. Good hearing – I could follow many conversations at once. Good memory – I could remember all the little bits that trailed, all the undone, all the priorities.
Good endurance. I could hurry and arrive intact.
But I can’t do it any more and besides, I’m retired. What would I hurry for? Sure, occasionally I need to arrive somewhere on time. But the part before I get there — the time I leave, the rate at which I prepare — that’s under my control. Now.
I could probably have hurried less even when I had small children and a job if I’d only taken the time to think about it. If only I had understood the importance of not using myself up.
No more hurrying. And the word, “Unhurried,” is lovely. Not bossy. If I’d chosen a command, I’d feel ashamed every time I had to use it. “Unhurried.” Like a wide slow river, surrounded by a flat meadow. Imagine an outdoor chair, a vista, and a glass of water.
This doesn’t mean I go slowly. It only means that I move at a speed I can support. I do not urge myself to the edge of my capabilities, I keep something in reserve.
In an unhurried day one has so much more time to pay attention. The space through which one is not hurtling communicates more fully.
Have a wonderful weekend.