Throw Out Fifty Things

Monday Morning Motivator:TAKE IT SLOW...

TAKE IT SLOW...

 

More than a few decades ago, before we were married, Jim and I flew down to Haiti for a brief get-away vacation in Port au Prince, the capital. We stayed at The Hotel Oloffson, a great favorite of the writer, Graham Greene, who used it as the setting for the "Hotel Trianon" in his 1966 novel, The Comedians. The Oloffson is a 19th century gothic, gingerbread mansion set in a lush tropical garden, high in the mountains overlooking the city. "Romantic" doesn't even begin to describe it. 

 

One breath-takingly beautiful afternoon we were stretched out in lounge chairs, breathing in the sweet air, listening to a steel band's gentle rhythms, sipping Planter's Punch and simply "drinking in" the softness of the moment. But here's what I remember best about that afternoon; in fact, I'll never forget it.There was another young American couple stretched out on lounge chairs nearby. They were good looking, probably in their late 20's or early 30's. The man was reading a novel and chuckling to himself, the woman was writing in a notebook, looking very serious and efficient. She interrupted his reading and said, "I've compiled a list of all the things we have to do to plan for our next trip..." and began rattling off what seemed like an endless list of chores: people and places to call, things to buy, arrangements to make." I got tired just listening to it and was considering moving my chair when suddenly, the man slammed his book closed and said, "We're here now! Can't we just enjoy this?!" I thought, "Boy, I wonder if this relationship will make it to the end of this vacation, never mind the next one..." 

 

Here's another similar but in an important way, very different scene from the past that I'll also never forget. I was maybe twenty at most. The setting was Jamaica. My mom, dad, brother and I were all there for a wonderful family vacation with "just the four of us." We were sitting on the beach sipping Margaritas (okay, I was a tiny bit underage...) and breathing in the aura of the Caribbean. Out of the blue, my mom lifted her glass and said, "Here's to us.  Here's to this moment. Here we are all together and we love each other...and we know it. Let's wrap our arms around it." We clicked our glasses and gave each other a hug. My arms are still wrapped around that moment ...

 

Here's why both those scenes have popped back into my mind: Our lives are moving at light speed. And it worries me a lot. The days, months and even years careen past us - like the flicker of photographs in our iPhones as we flip through them. Thanks to the wonders of technology we are absolutely always "plugged in," never really "out of touch," propelled by the need to respond, follow up, make lists, check off stuff on our lists and get on to the next thing "AFAP" (as fast as possible.) So, we're never actually in touch with the moment: the sweet smell of jasmine, the shape of the clouds or the fact that we're together, love each other, and know it...

 

It's time to slow it down. Seriously.  (Hey, maybe that's why some smart person invented "Summer Fridays...) And here's the good news: You don't need an exotic island, a swell hotel or a magnificent beach ('tho when you got 'em, don't waste 'em...) to stop and wrap your arms around the moment. Last weekend Jim and I, our daughters, Kate and Abigail, Kate's boyfriend, David, and our dog, Willa, were all together, sitting around our picnic table, about to dig into a magnificent lunch. (We are all dedicated "foodies.) The sky was the bluest I can remember, the air the clearest, there was reggae music playing on Pandora - and at the same moment, as if by design, we all raised our glasses and said, "Isn't this great? Here we are together..." 

 

Flipping through our lives AFAP can only lead to one thing: Our looking puzzled at the end of it - and saying, "Wait. That was it?!"  So let's take it slow, okay? Want to drink to that?

 

Remember that song, "Kokomo" sung by the Beach Boys from the movie, Cocktail? I woke up singing it yesterday. Maybe we should go there...

 

"Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take you; To Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama; Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go?...We'll get there fast...and then we'll take it slow. Way down to Kokomo..."

 

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvtqtC-SjAo

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