The Blue Thumb

Have you ever heard the expression, “every time someone gets a new hammer, everything around them looks like a nail?”

I know someone like that.  Everything this person gets started with becomes not only a passion, but an obsession.  It doesn’t matter if it’s something to eat or a hobby or a philosophy.  This person has to nail it to the wall.

For me, it has been so hard to watch, because nothing ever really sticks.  It has been a constant search to find the right hammer.  I used to hold the nails in place while the hammer was wielded.  I was just trying to be supportive and helpful.  Somehow, the nails would get wobbly and we’d go on to the next project, find a new hammer, and begin again.

Lately, somebody else handed my friend a hammer.  In fact, the hammer had a sticky resin on the handle.  Suddenly, my friend became, once again, passionate and obsessive.  The only difficulty I had with this new hammer was that the project itself was very self-limiting, and my friend began to forget the lessons learned from all of the other “projects” along the way.  I tried to hold the nails in place, but in an effort to swing so hard with this new hammer, my friend actually missed the whole point, and instead of hitting the nail on the head, hit my thumb instead.  It really hurt me, in so many ways.

I had to stop trying to work on this project.  I had to let go of the hammer and my friend, lest I wind up with a blue thumb… or a black and blue thumb.

Over the Speed Limit

Well, it has finally happened.  I’ve done it.  I have passed the speed limit.  Tomorrow marks my 56th birthday, and since most highways (except for maybe the turnpike system) have a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, I think it’s finally time for me to slow down.

Not that sitting in my car for nearly three hours every day, travelling at an average speed of 27 miles per hour is going fast.  I know that because my car can tell me my average speed.  It can also tell me my average miles per gallon, an approximation of how many miles are left in the current tank of gas, who is texting or calling me, and what color underwear I have on.  This is part of what I’m talking about.  Life is going too fast.  Information is flying in and out of my world as fast as best friends did when I was seven.

I’m tired.  I have done my time.  I’ve raised two children to adulthood.  I have been working full time since I was twenty-one.  I’ve maintained a home, the finances, the health, the kitchen (including a table full of teenagers every night for a span of about six years), and a not-so-demanding husband.

I am often reminded of Rose, in the story of Gypsy.  The consummate stage mother, wife, etc.  When she was left alone in the end, which is what we, today, refer to as the “empty-nest” part of her life, unlike me, she sped up.  She sang about how it was “Mama’s turn.”

When I first felt the very painful effects of an empty house, less errands, laundry and cooking, and an eerie quiet all of the time, except for maybe the drone of television sports emanating from the man-cave, I suffered a deep depression.  I didn’t know what to do with myself.  Everyone around me said I should find something to do.

Not me.  Not now.  For me, it’s time to slow down.  It won’t be long before I’m looking through the steering wheel rather than over it.  I’ve got to make the morning last.