Friday, January 2

My friend Colleen's column

Perhaps those who may be new to this blog do not know that Colleen and I are friends and we walk two miles every summer morning that we possibly can. We meet at the bike trail depot in Jefferson Iowa at 7:00 AM and walk to the one-mile marker and then return to the depot. On these walks we talk about nearly every subject under the sun and the time flies!
Here is her latest column....I had been thinking along these very lines for the past few days.

Time. And time again.
December 31, 2014
~a column by Colleen O’Brien

It took me a long time to get to the millennium, and now it’s 2015?

My dad told me when I was a grade schooler that time would speed up as I got older. “I can remember everything that happened to me before you and your sisters were born,” he said. “And then it speeded up and it’s a blur.”

I wasn’t sure if this was an insult or just an observation, and I had a millisecond of recognition that perhaps my existence wasn’t as exciting to Dad as it was to me, but it didn’t make much sense at the time. It took forever for Christmas to come and once the new year turned, it lasted forever. Apparently there was something very different about being an adult.

But, in my current role as a woman of a certain age, about a week after January 1, 2015, it will be Christmas and I’ll be looking at 2016.

I do know that when I keep a journal, I at least can look back to see what came and went so quickly, but most of the time now I forget for days at a time to write in it because, really, not much happens worth writing about and all my thoughts and surmises are hackneyed or I wrote them down 20 years ago.

Reading the old diaries is much more fun than trying to keep up with the current one. I was terribly whiney when the kids were little: I moaned and groaned about trying to be a better mom, quit yelling, play more Candyland (boy, did I hate that game). One of my entries read: “Putting dry Cheerios in their beds works! They don’t get me up! Of course I can’t tell anyone. I am a horrible mother.”

This makes me smile now; then, I was horrified at myself, even as I continued in my devious ways.

When I started writing for a living, I was always making notes on things to write about or jotting down characteristics of people I might use in a story. Once in a while I return to journals for ideas for columns, so I guess it wasn’t all futility, although some of those jottings make absolutely no sense to me now.

All through the years I’ve copied lines I’ve loved from whatever books I’m reading. If I wanted to look up these hallowed words, I’d never find them, but they are pretty good reading randomly. Some writers are just so good with a sentence I turn green with envy and write it down. I don’t know why I do this because I don’t use the quotes, repeat them in conversations, write to the author to tell her how brilliant she is. Maybe I think the copying of a good line will rub off on me as I pen it.

Two years ago, on New Year’s Day, I decided not to start another diary but to write what I titled “Pome-a-Day.” I got up to #247 when I began skipping days. Soon I was skipping weeks. Then my computer crashed (literally; onto the floor) and I lost them all. Now I’m back to writing a poem when it’s time for a poetry meeting.

I do read a poem a day, however, in “Writers Almanac” online. This is a Garrison Keillor idea, and he publishes well-known and obscure poets each morning . . . a very fine idea and never a waste of time, something we’re always warned against. In fact, I am a pro at wasting time. I think I’ve been gazing out the window for years.

The speed of my days these days is hardly news to anyone old. It is certainly dismaying, however, for I feel like I’m missing something . . . not paying attention to life perhaps, or, the Big Scare – losing my marbles to the great length of time I’ve survived. My friends and I talk about it periodically, laughing the gallows laugh as we recall occasions in which we lost our word and sat there mouths agape and puzzlement in our eyes. Sometimes we call one another to ask, “What is that tall flower that grows in alleys and you can make dolls out of?”

The old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun” is indeed true; but it also flies when you’re simply old and not really having any fun at all. Dr. Seuss, as usual, summed it up nicely: “December is here before it’s June. My goodness, how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

Happy New Year!

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