Sunday, August 28, 2011

guest post: the pace of life

Gentle reader, please find below the thoughts and musings of my very best friend, Amanda Rose Smear.  We met in 2002, shared many misadventures, laughs, and tears, and now we are separated by 1260 miles.  I came thisclose to staying in New York with her before my life pulled me in another direction.  She is a talented and thoughtful person, so enjoy!


Just before I sat down to type this "guest blog post" I did something that no New Yorker - or at least no stereotypical psychotically productive maniacally driven blackberry-addicted Manhattanite like me EVER does: I prepared myself for 48 hours of nothing. Calling my life "fast-paced" would be an understatement. I often describe my work schedule as frantic, frenzied, aggressive. I'm in a constant fight against the clock...appointment, conference call, meeting, site visit, deadline, emergency, site visit BOOM it's 11pm. And that's how every day goes until I catch 5-6 hours of sleep wake and do it again, sometimes pressing pause for a 6:30am yoga class. So to tell myself today at 3pm than I will literally do nothing other than kill time until Monday morning (or longer) is a little eerie.

As you may or may not know, NYC as well as the rest of the Northeast is preparing for what may be a very windy/rainy day. Some are calling it a "hurricane". I'm skeptical but nevertheless did the practical thing and stocked the fridge with bottled water, groceries, skittles, Kettle Popcorners, you know...The necessities.  I'm not being completely honest. Paul wanted to buy enough snacks to last the entire armageddon. MY mission was to find an open Starbucks, caffeinate, and possibly find the motivation to do something. To my shock and dismay, Bloomberg had frightened every shopkeep and restaurant manager from opening today and not even STARBUCKS was there for me. Normally I could get 5 Frappucino Lites on the way to work (15minute walk) without having to go out of my way. Today, at least lower Manhattan is utterly Starbuck-less. I came back to the couch without my normal fast-forward jolt of espresso and proceeded to do nothing.

Why does it take a natural disaster to force us to slow down? Take a siesta...maybe NOT work for a few hours (or even a few days!). Why does everyone have to call your cell phone if you don't immediately answer your land line? Why do we doubt someone likes us if they haven't replied to our text or email within 5 minutes of hitting send? Why do we let ourselves go go go until we physically shutdown and are incapable of normal human interaction by Friday afternoon? And by we, I mean me.

I'm most aware of how quickly life is moving when I look back at old files- for me, files that contain all the details about a past party I have planned. I remember the client, how we interacted, what random bits of drama they brought into my life and if I felt it was successful. I looked at a folder two days ago and was horrified to realize that the party had taken place SIX YEARS ago. I remembered every detail of this particular party like it was yesterday. How did so much time go by so quickly?

A few months ago Maria and I were talking about a song we had danced to at my epic 80s 25th birthday party (2.7 years ago!) and were shocked that my mom had no clue what song we were talking about. "I was really busy in the 80's" said my mom with out a hint of sarcasm. It was true! She had 4 kids between April of '76 and January of '84 and an entire decade had passed before she knew it. A flurry of diapers, packed lunches, soccer practices, play rehearsals from morning to night.

Anyone who knows my mother knows what a notorious night owl she is. Maria- a relatively new mom with a rambunctious 16 month old told me she totally understood why. As a mom, each day is like a marathon. You are constantly "on" - under a microscope. Baby baby baby all day long. When else do you have time to attend to yourself - (shower? read? eat? relax?) besides after dark? When I see my sister being pursued relentlessly by the needs of her little Ella I am actually amazed. "No day at work is ever as hard as every day with a baby" is another famous quote of Ria's. Wall St. guys and race car drivers may think they've cornered the market on "fast-paced" but can anyone even hold a candle to the mothers of small children?

Hats off to you ladies. Because while Hurricane Irene has me wine-drunk eating skittles on the couch surfing the Facebook, I'm sure my sister, similarly housebound, is working her ass off chasing a baby and swiffering up after a messy snack-time. And my darling Emily is somewhere changing a dirty diaper even on Saturday, a day of universal repose. I'm gonna enjoy this day of pure laziness because who knows how many more of these I'm going to get in my life?

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