Monday, July 19, 2010

More Time, Less Stuff

Shabbat #25

Guests: Katie, Aron and their 3 year old son. Katie and I went to high school together. Yet another witness to my "big" hair.

Menu: Chicken and Pineapple Skewers with Mango Salsa, Grilled Plantains with Spicy Brown Sugar Glaze, Coconut Rice, Mango Sorbet with Toasted Coconut

What I Learned:

I met Katie in eighth grade. My parents moved uprooting me from my drama-filled pre-teen existence at one school to another (rival) school down the road where Katie went. Distressing because I'd just made the "Poms" squad and scored Larry Fairchild as a lab partner. The move proved devastating to my future in science and pom-pomming.

This was also right about the time I (along with every other 14 year old girl) began to compare myself to others, keeping a mental checklist of those "must haves." Those things that would most certainly complete my high school experience. Like Guess Jeans. The coveted logo purse. Student council. Senior superlatives. And the almighty "good" hair ... which incidentally did happen to be "big" back in the 80's.

Katie had a lot of the things on the list. She was a cheerleader with the perfectly perky hair to match. Smart. I think she was even on the Homecoming court. And adored because she was impossibly nice. Still is. I lucked into or otherwise earned a number of things on the list as well. Like the lavender Izod sweater from Grandma B. who knew how to spoil me. And the overpriced purse that my Dad made me save for myself. (A lesson I tend to repeat with Sarah.)

I think my high school experience was fairly typical. A dose of teen angst, tossed with a growing desire for what was "in" and a huge helping of "hurry up." Always wanting time to pass faster so I could move up to the high school. Be a sophomore. And a junior. Drive. Vote. Graduate. Move out. Move on.

This pattern continued into college. Chasing grades, internships, boys. All while sporting those horribly unflattering Laura Ashley jumpers. And rolled right into law school, clerkships and eventually the almighty billable hour at the fancy law firm where (with eager greed ) I willed each hour to pass more quickly so I could get to the next.

In that decade I acquired two degrees, a husband, a lot of stuff and a lot less time.

And then I acquired my two kids ... and motherhood changed everything.

These days I'm much happier writing memoirs than memos. And I'll gladly trade more stuff and less time for ... less stuff and more time.

Less house to clean and yard to weed. Less clothes to wash and fold. Less stress and worry that comes with keeping up with too much stuff.

More hours to write, run, cook and travel. More time to spend with my kids. My husband.

More time with my family.

Katie's dad passed away a few months ago. I went to the funeral. He'd been on the board of the Metro West Fire Protection District and the visitation was filled with people, many in uniform. But as I approached Katie it may have well have been just the two of us. Exchanging a hug that silently said "I'm so, so sorry ... I wish there was more time."

That day reminded me again that time is precious. As precious as healthy parents. And that neither should be taken for granted.

So I plan to take the time to squeeze in as many Sunday dinners, Colorado ski slopes, San Diego sunsets and whatever we can dream up boondoggles while the gettin' is good.

Yes ... More time. Less stuff. That's really what I want.

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