I wrote this as a "Fantasy" story. But when I read what I had written, I wonder if it isn't closer to a "True Story." What do you think?
"Will you just slow down? Why are we in such a hurry?"
Hurry turned and looked back at me like I was nuts.
“Me? This is your life.”
I froze. I had no idea what the heck he was talking about.
“Yes. Remember when you were five, you were in a hurry to start school.”
I nodded. I didn’t have any brothers or sisters…so school meant I could have somebody to play with. I couldn’t wait for school to start.
“Then what happened? You were in a hurry to have school end so you could go home.”
I nodded again. I was tired when I came home from school. I had friends now, and I wanted to go play. But I couldn’t, I had homework.
“That’s right…you had homework. Your parents wouldn’t even let you go play until your homework was done. You know why?”
“Because they were in a hurry too. They wanted you to have a good job, a career, get good grades, go to a good school. Maybe even find true love. They were in a hurry for you to get on with your life…you were five, and they were already thinking college!”
I never thought of it that way before. I guess my parents were in a hurry. I guess I was too.
“What do you remember most about eight grade?”
“What? What kind of question is that?”
“Just answer it.”
I didn’t have to think to long.
“I wanted to go to High School.”
“Because that was when you got to meet girls, go out, get a drivers license, go to your first party, find out what you were good at. Maybe get drunk or high, go steady, and do well enough to get into college.”
“So you were in a hurry to grow up.”
“I guess so.”
“Do you remember your first real girlfriend?”
I blushed. Of course I did. She was beautiful. Perfect in every way. And she liked me.
“Why did you break up?”
“She said I was in to much of a hurry. We were only sixteen. She told me it was “cute” that I wanted to marry her (and I did want to marry her). A week later she broke up with me.
“When did you start dating again?”
“Six weeks later. I found she had another boyfriend already. I wanted another girlfriend.”
“Why? Why in such a hurry to find another girlfriend?”
I had to think back. Why did I want another girlfriend? Sports were way more important to me than a girl. I had no job. I had nothing to “offer” a girlfriend except some nice talks and the occasional make out session.
“Well, everyone needs somebody in their life. You don’t want to grow old alone!’
He laughed. Long. Hard. Bent over double. When he could breathe again…he said:
“You were still in High School and were worried about dying alone? How big of hurry were you in?”
I was getting uncomfortable. It was dawning on me that I had been in a hurry my whole life. Racing to prove I could grow up, be responsible, take care of other people, get a job, settle down, have kids, retire a millionaire.
I had missed a lot of moments by rushing to the next thing to fast, to soon, or to early. Maybe my first marriage wouldn’t have ended if I had just slowed down enough to figure out who she was…I sure didn’t know who I was. We were young…and then it dawned on me…we were in a hurry.
There wasn’t any reason we couldn’t have waited until we both finished college before we got married. There wasn’t any reason to have children right away, but we wanted to be young enough to travel when the kids left the house.
I froze again. How much of a hurry I was in was rushing up to stop me in the present for a second or two.
“Oh. My. God. My kids weren’t even born yet, and I was in a hurry to live without them. To get them out of the house into a good job, or following their dream, or doing something they love- as long as it got them out of the house. I didn’t even take the time to just sit and let my daughter hold my finger until she fell asleep that first day.
I pulled her tiny hand away after a few moments, because I was in a hurry to get her home to her new nursery. “
A tear formed in my eye. I thought about my first marriage - the woman who gave me my two children. Then she raised them almost single handily…because I was in a hurry to move on and make enough money so that my kids would have good clothes, braces, bikes, and go to good schools.
My second marriage had hints of the same sort of hurry. I married a person as busy as I was. We both loved the outdoors and couldn’t wait to go on an adventure to prove we were living life to the fullest. We would be skiing in Colorado, while planning our white water trip in West Virginia the next spring.
Funnily enough, the highlight of that marriage (at least for me) was when my wife broke her leg rock climbing. For six weeks, she was bed ridden, while the surgery healed. We had lots of long talks. I was needed, necessary, and nearby.
She was in a hurry to get well. To “get back in the Saddle” as she said. I kinda liked it when we had slowed down. She told me I didn’t have ambition anymore…”where did the man I love go? What happened to his drive to experience all that life has to offer.”
She felt sad for me. I felt sad for her. She was in a hurry.
I had slowed down a bit. I found out I liked it. But I was in a hurry to prove I had slowed down. That is when I met him.
His name is Hurry. I couldn’t keep up with him. I was trying to hard to catch up. I was missing every moment in my life just because I was in a hurry to grow up, move on, prove myself, be everything to everyone. To live the dream.
Hurry showed me how devastating that was…and is.
I was sixty two when Hurry finally introduced himself to me. He told me it was time to let go of him.
“Just slow down. Enjoy life. Enjoy your children and grandchildren. Talk with the woman you love until the coffee grows cold. Forget being home in time to cut the grass, watch the evening news, or your favorite serial on Netflix. Don’t be in such a rush to get it all done today. Tomorrow may or may not come…we don’t know for sure. But if it does, you can’t hurry it along.”
I nodded. I get it now. One lifetime is all you get. Why hurry through it?
I am glad I met Hurry. I wish I had met him earlier, but I am in no hurry to beat myself up over the past- or to get to a new future. Today is just fine.