By Carol Glassman
Children ask, “Are we there yet?,” while folks of a certain age are more likely to groan, “Are we there already?” This can refer to either time or place.
All right, in an effort to carpe the diem, stop and smell the roses and/or cappuccino, savor the intoxicating scent of cinnamon that reminds us of mom’s apple pie, inhale the fragrance of pine cones or the pungent aroma of frying potato latkes and roasting turkey, we’ll do almost anything possible to bring back the good memories and reminisce about holidays, and maybe even put the brakes on swiftly-passing time. What is it about human nature? Either we fail to plan ahead and find ourselves in a bind, or we crash headlong into the future without really enjoying the present. Just when we may finally come to terms with “living in the moment”, forcing ourselves to turn all of our attention toward the event at hand, what happens? We are sabotaged!
How could we possibly enjoy the “last days of summer” by putting all our time and energy into Labor Day picnics and celebrations, when the stores are already jam-packed with pumpkins, skeletons and witches to herald Halloween, a mere two months away? Before Halloween arrives and we even have a chance to contribute to our dentist’s income by removing a few fillings with candy kisses, not only are the stores full of Thanksgiving items, but they are also on sale — to make room for Christmas decorations! And, if we plan to stock up on half-price Christmas items by shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, well, I regret to say that we missed it by a longshot, as overly-enthusiastic (greedy) merchants staged Black Monday-to-Fridaysales the preceding week, and now we’ll have to contend with sales for Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Tuesday and any other excuse they can manufacture to separate us from our dollars. Unless we grew up surrounded by shopaholics and our fondest holiday memories are of standing in ridiculously long lines to give our money away for barely useful items, it seems a rather odd way to reminisce about precious moments.
At the side of the bin containing Christmas decorations, most likely at half price weeks before the event because trees are almost all up and decorated, is another bin containing shamrocks and green hats. What’s wrong here — are we forgetting Valentine’s Day? Before we know it, the Easter Bunny will be holding a standoff with Santa’s elves and will require years of therapy to deal with his identity crisis!
The longer we live, the easier it seems to be to remember events of the far past than what we did a few years ago. Perhaps that’s because we have recalled them more often. Or perhaps it’s because we haven’t taken the time to enjoy each event to the fullest, because we are simply too busy looking ahead to the next one.
All of us have met people who ask socially correct questions, and as we reply, we know with certainty that we could stop talking and they’d never notice. They are most likely gazing around the room not even listening to our reply because they are too busy formulating what they will say next. How many times are adults too busy to stop and really hear what little kids are saying as they chatter on to what they think is a rapt and fascinated audience? You can’t bring these moments back — when they are gone, they are sadly gone. Add to this, the bizarre situations where everyone is staring at his or her hand, afraid of missing a text or e-mail. Where heads used to be tipped forward in grateful prayer, now we are going to face years of therapy for worn-out thumbs and skewed necks.
That’s what could happen when we neglect to seize the moment and to live for the present: we never get to enjoy our daily life. “Time just seems to fly by and I don’t accomplish anything” is an often-heard comment, and it becomes difficult to celebrate a holiday that vanishes before we are fully invested in it.
“Happy Holiday” may sound a little too generic to some, but it’s a lot ‘safer’ and less embarrassing than sending greetings based on what is available commercially at the moment. You just can’t trust the sales these days!