Last full day of vacation. In between plans for dinner (I have yet to have my lobster and steamed clams);what to do today (the weather is perfect, probably the last "summer-ish" day of the fall, so the beach is on the agenda); and which of the myriad souvenirs, tchotchkes and items of on-sale clothing to buy to take home (do I really need an antique Chinese jar, or the bronze sculpture of an acrobat balancing on one hand?) ... among all these considerations I am concentrating most on enjoying what's left of the vacation. As usual I looked forward to this week away for months, convinced -- like the kid I used to be -- that it would never arrive. And when it inevitably did it went much too fast.
But as my mother used to say, "This too shall pass". And it applies equally to the pleasant and the unpleasant events in life. Intellectually I know that vacation doesn't last forever, but there's always that glimmer of hope, irrational as it may be, that one week will somehow stretch into two or four or, better, just go on indefinitely -- perhaps in some alternate universe where I stay on the beach, eat lobster and shop for half-price treasures, while the "other" me goes to work, shops the supermarket and balances the checkbook.
But the truth is that the older I get the faster time seems to pass, and the quicker the things I look forward to come screeching up then whizzing by. As the years pass I find myself talking about Christmas or tax day or the next colonoscopy using expressions like "It'll be here before you know it" or "It'll be over before you know it".
So vacation will end in a couple of days. (We head for home tomorrow but will have all day Sunday to decompress.) I'll go back to work on Monday. And maybe it's another of those functions of being older, but I'm really not stressed about it. It will be what it will be. It isn't that I don't care or that how I perform at work doesn't matter, but I feel as though I'm heading back with a renewed sense of confidence, calm and self-possession. It's not that big a deal. This too, etc.
Of course inasmuch as I had been planning on early retirement when my job came along, out of the blue, I know that my tenure at work has a definite expiration date. And it's not that far off. I enjoy what I do, I love the people I work with but I do look forward... You know, it'll be here before I know it.
And let's face it, if you stay on vacation forever, you'll never know what happens in the rest of your life. Transient though it all may be, you'd probably miss some wonderful stuff. Which sooner or later will pass. So it's the moment we really have, the right-now. That's all.
It's a beautiful Cape Cod day outside. I've had my coffee and a big cinnamon roll. The beach awaits. I'm outta here.
This too shall pass. In fact, it's passed already.