From the morning she wakes up down to the end of her day Elma packs in lots of things – work, work, work! Busy, busy, busy! There’s no free time in-between. She works at the office, works out in the gym, lectures, meetings, clubs, travels. Driven? Yes, but let’s go on with this story. She keeps herself so busy even wondering why there isn’t enough time in the day. It freaks her out when nothing is happening. She can’t stand an empty day –would die if time suddenly stood still. That’s Elma--who lives alone in a modern comfortably furnished pad in the bustling city where she works. Nope, she doesn’t have a boyfriend yet – thank goodness! If she did, that would be the shortest love affair this side of town.
Well, last Saturday, we were together at our favorite coffee bar-- a rare moment, knowing her. She talked about everything which I already knew but because it felt that she needed the moment I let her ramble on. Lol. When the conversation came to a pause (she asked the waiter for a refill to her cappuccino), I casually asked her about her other interests. You should have seen her face – it drew a blank! -A huge one. So I tried another question “what do you do for yourself?” “Oh, well--Plenty. You should see my schedule.” She replied sipping her coffee. “I know that, that’s work. What are you doing for – you. And the other stuff you’re doing, they don’t seem to fill you the way it should.” Then she looked at me, put down her coffee and said “Talk!” I looked at her eyes briefly trying to see something there that would tell me that I shouldn’t. What I saw was a curious interest in what I was going to say. I guess that was my cue. So here it goes…
“You’re driving yourself crazy for just over one part of your life. The balance tips unevenly and you’re losing your grip on the other important areas of your life – things which have to do with the real you – not with your work, your gym thing, or the empty frenzy pace you keep. It’s quite easy to fill up the hours of the day with work and even beyond the day through the night. I see you do that. But what then have you become because of it? Your mother calls you up sharing a new discovery on a pie recipe she’s excited about, but you’d cut her short rushing to a meeting. Your favorite kid sister’s eager to show you the new star on her report card, but you brush her off with the usual excuse that you’re so tired. Your friend in the office cubicle next to you looks so distraught –but you don’t notice because you’ve got your head deep in piles of paperwork. That old lady dropped her parcels by the elevator, but you simple breezed by her racing after an elevator that had nowhere to go anyway but up and down. When was the last time a beautiful sunset took your breath away? Did you notice last night’s moon – it was golden with hazy rings around it. Have you seen the rosebud blossom into a magnificent rose? The flower pot was right on your windowsill. So what have you become??
Don’t lose it. These are the things that truly matter in life – family, love, kindness, compassion, understanding, concern, and childlike wonder at nature’s magnificence that’s all around us. These are the things which carry you through life’s long journey and onto its end but happily. These are your real treasures. And this is the ‘you’ that you should nurture and preserve. Get ‘you’ back before there’d be none left of you to retrieve.”
I waited. Finally she looked at me and said “Gotta run now.” I asked “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?” “I’m going home --to mom. I’m getting a life. Thanks buddy!” Well, cappuccino sure never tasted this good! :-)
posted on Monday, March 06, 2006 11:54 AM