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One-a-day living

I do a lot of reading but not much else. In fact, I have recently begun to see myself as a "one-a-day" person. One event or activity and that's it. I might go to a movie or a meeting or class, but just one. Other than that, my activities are the usual household type and not much of that. It is hard for me to do what I used to do when I had less time...

Barbara Ehrenreich referred to Americans as having a Calvinist way of thinking - we feel we must always be busy. I have thought of this a lot lately as I have watched people I know go about their activities, always in a hurry. No time, no time. Gotta rush from one thing to another. I used to be the same way and I wished I could just take a break.

My vision came from my childhood: when I was seven I had my tonsils removed. When I returned from the hospital I was able to hole up in bed for a few days while others fixed me egg nogs and so on. No responsibilities, just rest and being taken care of. It was one of the few times I can remember my mother ministering to me, although I know she came through when we were sick. That is, she would call the doctor and then give us various medicines. As an adult I frequently thought back to those days as a kind of ideal break.

And now I have the time. I have felt guilty about going to coffee places and just reading and watching people. It seems wrong. The strange thing is that so many places are designed to appear like places where you can just "live" for a while. When I visited a tea room not long ago I sat in the back patio with my tea and scone and read for a while and thought how it was that normally I would go to a place like that and wish I could just stay as long as I liked, but I couldn't. I had to be somewhere. I don't anymore. I can stay if I like. It really takes getting used to.


Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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