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.