Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long Days Can Be A Good Thing

A couple of days ago, a close friend and I were chatting over Skype and she mentioned that life expectancy in China was only 35 years in 1952. She is living in Shanghai at the moment and I said that if she lived then, she only had a year left. Immediately, she came back with a statement that she would only have a few months to live, not a year!

I'm 32 right? RIGHT? Wrong! I had automatically added on two years from my own age to get hers. However, I forgot that I'll be turning 33 in the next few days. Funnily, this is the age that I always wanted to be. Well, when I was 19, I thought I wanted to be 33. I imagined that by the time I was 33, I would definitely not be doing any exams and I would have my life in order and be living happily every after.

Anyway, the conversation with my friend went along the lines of how time flies. She mentioned wanting to push the "Pause" button. At the time, I responded that I didn't feel I needed to.

I've been thinking a lot about that conversation. Why wouldn't I want to "Pause" things? I definitely also feel that time has zoomed by much quicker than anticipated. My friend and I used to be 12 and 14, staying out past midnight after Christmas caroling. Yet, I find that the past few years have gone by at the "correct" pace.

Maybe the snail's pace speed of life here in Palembang has its advantages after all. Our days start at 5am and drag, seemingly endlessly, until 8pm and then it speeds up a little until 11pm each night. I often find myself sitting and staring at Aaron, wondering what we can do next. It gets frustrating and boring at times but maybe this is really our chance to take things slow and savor each day. [I'm trying to convince myself here :)]

We won't be here forever and once we move away, I am sure it will be to a place with lots more to do. Perhaps I will go back to work someday. Working would definitely contribute to time zooming by again because I might end up back in the pre-baby lifestyle - surviving until the next deadline!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that being a stay at home mom, especially one in a quiet place like Palembang, is challenging but is full of potential. I know I waste a lot of my days being hot and grumpy. And I regret it at the end of the day. I just need to remember to be to be positive and see each day as an opportunity. Opportunities for small chunks of accomplishment are still counted as opportunities.

It sounds like one of those posts where I'm talking to myself isn't it? Well...thats what staying at home does to a person :)


John said...

I think that you are one of those people that will enjoy life at any pace. By all means, enjoy the pace of life that you have now.
When that changes,I'm sure that you will still treasure your moments with Aaron and still enjoy life!

johnorford said...

i have heard that alot of those low average life expectancies are mostly due to high baby mortality rates.

so if you did get to 32, you probably would have longer than 2 or 3 years to go : )

fiona said...

I've was a stay at home mom for around 3 years and irrespective of where you live time passes slowly. With only a baby for company an hour can feel like a whole morning. Enjoy it though because they really do grow up fast and then they wont even let you play with them! :-(
I do miss a good game of building Lego...sighs
hugs Fxxx

Mike said...

"where I'm talking to myself"

No you're not. That's why WE'RE here.

Bilbo said...

Your soliloquy reminded me of this little thing I ran across many years ago...I don't think I ever knew who the author was, or if this is the entire thing...

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare perfect tomorrow."

Some day you may wish you'd pressed the pause button on these "normal days." But the best you can do is be able to look back and think that whatever you exchanged these days for - like raising Aaron, or writing letters to your distant friends, or taking pictures of the local kids - was worth the trade. Knowing you, even from a great distance, I think you can probably believe it was.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

It used to be around that age in Britain as well hundreds of years ago.

Amanda said...

John - Thats what I keep reminding myself - to treasure each moment. Its so easy to forget.

johnorford - phew! lets hope there are many many more years :)

Fiona - I'm not looking forward to that day that Aaron doesn't want me to play with him, or cuddle him , or tickle him ..... We'll have an extra round of lego today, for you :)

Bilbo - I liked that! It looks like the quote is from Mary Jean Iron. Some versions of this have a few more sentences bit I like your shorter version better. Here it is anyway:

"Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

JLP - Its hard to imagine isn't it? 35 years isn't very long at all!

AK said...

Mike - Oops! You leave such a sweet comment and I miss responding to it :)

It is great to always have people read my thoughts. Thanks for always leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts in return.

Mike said...

I'm always afraid I'll do that.