Tag Archives: time

The inevitable passage of time

A train passes close enough to hear
But not to see.
My brother’s in the bunk bed.
A giant tree
I loved to climb but had to call my dad
Or neighbor’s dad to get me down.
I felt the spirit of that tree
It welcomed me. I returned despite the tics
And mother’s warnings.
Isn’t that the way life has to go?
Some calls must be answered
Calls from boys, especially
When you’re in full bloom
Your skin like dew, your hair like silk
Made for men’s fingers.
I still loved trees, more so at twilight
In parks, when it was just me and him
We could lie in the grass and kiss for hours
Entranced by mutual beauty: lips, eyelashes,
The scent of my neck, thanks to my mom’s perfume
Things went downhill from there. Don’t they always?
Isn’t that a common theme?
In life’s hills and valleys, is there a peak?
Some people seem trapped in an abyss,
But that’s not me.
Right now I live on plains, flat lands to the horizon.
There aren’t even any waves, imagine.
A lack of seasons, that longed for eternal summer.
Sometimes I dream of trees and mountains
And even snow
Of boyfriends of my past who are married now
Happily living with their precious son
On the opposite coast.
I’m glad. It sometimes seems things are
The way they’re meant to be.
I think about those scenes, of course.
And of little brothers, fathers who now are old
And I marvel at the age I have become.
It is sad but true. Do I wish I could rewind?
Go back to neighborhoods and silly thoughts,
Moms in kitchens, school tomorrow.
Do I miss my far-flung friends? Sometimes.

When you are old

Just want to share a poem that I love … one of the few I know by heart. It’s by Yeats and was inspired by his lifelong love, Maud Gonne, whom he proposed to five times — and I think banged just once. Ah, life.

 When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

Taking it from the man

There is a lot of corporate loathing out there right now, for several reasons. Corporations are too involved in politics, can be very detrimental to the environment and rake in huge profits while laying off or outsourcing employees (or denying them benefits, a livable wage, vacation time, etc.) They perpetuate selfish greed and the ‘more more more’ mantra of American life. They gobble up rainforests to produce throwaway barbie doll packaging. They buy the system, getting legislators to reduce laws intended to protect the environment, and, in direct correlation, our health and well-being (and that of our co-inhabitants, plants and animals species).

Well I could go on. But this post is talking about what it’s like to actually work at one of these corporations day in and day out, and if that experience is also in need of reform. The 5 day, inflexible, 40-hour workweek was arbitrarily created in the early 20th century. Why is it a hard and fast rule? Why do Americans get so little vacation time in comparison to European countries (6 weeks, paid) and why do so little of them take the 2 weeks or less that they have?

Our culture teaches us to be a slave to the man. And I have to say, it can feel very demeaning to be a corporate lackey. You are a SUBORDINATE. You must, to some extent or another, suck it up, kiss ass, refrain from voicing your opinion, blindly obey ridiculous and often inefficient protocols, renounce your freedom, beg for time off, and always be obsequious to your ‘superiors.’

There are — very few — companies who dare to think more progressively. They have flexible work schedules, no hierarchy, open brainstorming sessions, respect and equality, an environment conducive to innovation, expression and creativity and unlimited time off (which, for the record, actually leads to extremely low turnover, high levels of productivity and really sharp work).

Most people are just happy to have a job. And admittedly, the average desk job isn’t all so bad. Especially in comparison to the sweatshop factories, the hard labor, the conditions in many other countries. But to me, a self-sufficient lifestyle is vastly preferable, simply because you are allowed independence and self-respect. I have to say that it can be a very frustrating and demeaning experience to work for a company unless, of course, you are the boss.

Oh, and it is very unhealthy to sit on your ass all day, and stifling to your soul and need for creative self-expression.

“Dost thou love life?

Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” — Ben Franklin

That quote popped into my head in a recent early weekend morning when I was debating sleeping in or going on a long bike ride. I want to learn to manage my time better. Any older person will tell you that time goes by fast, to make the most of every moment, to live life to the fullest, as if today were your last day on earth.

That can sometimes seem hard to do. If you were truly to live every day as if it were your last day, you would have to call everyone to tell them everything you never said. You might go bungee jumping, or buy a plane ticket to Paris. You would eat like a king, and make love with your spouse. But we have jobs, and kids, and errands to run. Get the groceries, fold the laundry. Most of our lives are not very exciting.

But we can also make the most of what we have. We can choose to get outside and off the couch. To shop at the farmer’s market instead of Walmart. To be kinder, more patient, understanding, compassionate and generous. To really listen to people. To sincerely welcome someone new. To take a walk in solitude and spend some time with your inner self, and listen to what she has to tell you. You can choose to make a bucket list and start chipping away at it, little by little. To be less lazy, less inactive, less passive. To turn off the TV and get creative. To read, write and converse. To savor the simple pleasures that our great-great-greats once enjoyed: good wine and savory, wholesome meals. The beauty of nature and the thrill of good companions. The pleasure and joy, the non-regret, of not wasting time.